BlackBerry is planning two more Android smartphones for this year

BlackBerry will release two new Android smartphones this year, the company’s CEO has said.

In an interview with the Abu Dhabi news website The National, the technology firm’s chief John Chen also said that BlackBerry’s first Android device, the Priv, was a miscalculation and “too high-end a product”.

“A lot of enterprise customers have said to us, ‘I want to buy your phone, but $700 (£491) is a little too steep for me,’” he said.

Instead, Chen suggested that consumers were now more interested in mid-range smartphones that are priced at around $400 (£280).

The launch of the Priv, BlackBerry’s first smartphone to branch out from their own operating system and instead work on Google’s Android, was designed to help boost sales that have fallen dramatically in recent years. Instead, sales continued to slow, dropping to 600,000 units in the last quarter – down a further 100,000 on the previous quarter.

In contrast, software continues to be a profitable area for BlackBerry, with the company forecasting 30% growth in the coming year.

However, BlackBerry will continue to create hardware that runs on Android, with Chen announcing that another phone with a physical keyboard – similar to the Priv – as well as a touchscreen device, are both to be released this year, though no dates have yet been confirmed.

BlackBerry has struggled to maintain a central position in the smartphone hardware business in the wake of large growth by Apple, Samsung and others in recent years. Last month, both Facebook and WhatsApp also confirmed they were to stop offering support for BlackBerry versions of their apps.

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