BlackBerry to release cheap Android smartphones in emerging economies

BlackBerry to release cheap Android smartphones in emerging economies
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Blackberry is getting confused on what to do next following their downfall in the mobile world.
According to reports, one handset, nicknamed “Prague”, would be a relatively low-end market device targeting emerging economies.
It would launch around August and could have specs similar to the BlackBerry Z3. If so, it would have a dual-core processor, a 5-inch display but no physical keyboard.

A second handset, nicknamed “Venice”, would be a high-end device, possibly with a curved display. A handset displayed at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, had a slide-out keyboard. It could launch in November, maybe sooner.
BlackBerry, while describing reports as rumour, has not un­equivocally denied them, further fuelling speculation. “We don’t comment on rumours and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched,” a BlackBerry spokesman told The Australian.
BlackBerry-enthusiast website Crackberry.com published a poll that found a majority of current BlackBerry users wouldn’t buy an Android-based Black­Berry.
Nothing is certain in the world of smartphones — especially for BlackBerry, which put much effort into recent handsets such as the square Passport.
The problem for BlackBerry is that while phones like the Passport are quality handsets, consumers using Apple’s iOS and Android are increasingly unfamiliar with the BlackBerry operating system, given the company holds less than 1 per cent of the smartphone market.
BlackBerry 10 is a well-crafted operating system that extensively and cleverly uses gestures for control and navigation, but it is a new operating system to learn for those outside its ecosphere.
Another problem has been a lack of many of the apps users are familiar with on Apple and Android devices.
But it’s something BlackBerry has worked on.
In February last year, it became possible to run Android apps on BlackBerry 10 devices via a software update. A second OS update added apps and games through the Amazon app store.
The Android speculation comes as the Canadian handset maker prepares to release its first quarter 2015 results and holds its annual general meeting early this week. Analysts predict a loss on revenue of nearly $US700m ($900m) which will put it under more pressure. BlackBerry has already completed a restructure, cutting 4500 staff.
If the Android rumours are true, BlackBerry may find a market among Apple and Android consumers who like a physical keyboard. If they’re familiar with Android already, the jump to an Android BlackBerry won’t be hard.
An Android BlackBerry could still boast great software features such as its integrated email app, BlackBerry Messenger and proprietary security — as well as that keyboard.
But profit margins in the Android market are small due intense competition. Still, Black­Berry is in with a chance at the lower end, which is still expanding.
Given its ongoing losses, any new handsets later this year will be the last chance for BlackBerry in smartphones. The company still has BlackBerry Enterprise Server 12, its device management business.
BlackBerry has also been the subject of takeover rumours, with reports last week that China’s Lenovo may be interested.
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