BlackBerry today confirmed that the company will be making an Android-based smartphone, with a launch date aimed for the end of 2015, even as it reported a greater-than-expected annual loss (via Re/code).
The company reported that its latest quarterly loss was 13 cents per share on revenue of approximately $490 million, with analysts expecting 9 cents per share loss on revenue reaching closer to $600 million. Still, BlackBerry believes that its new handset, called the Priv, will boost its quarterly earnings as it heads into 2016.
“We are focused on making faster progress to achieve profitability in our handset business,” Chen said. The company also announced plans earlier this month to acquire rival Good Technology for $425 million. “From these initiatives, we anticipate modest sequential revenue growth in each of the remaining quarters of fiscal 2016.”
Confirming a previous rumor from June, the smartphone will have a slide-out keyboard and will combine "the best of BlackBerry security and productivity" with Android's robust mobile platform applications, according to BlackBerry CEO John Chen. The company confirmed Priv will launch by the end of 2015, and that the BlackBerry 10 OS will still be supported, getting a software update around March.
Chen also mentioned that he has been aware of the company's steady decline, and that he'll stay in the business as long as there's money to be made. “If I can’t make money on the phone, I will be out of that telephone handset business,” Chen said. “There is a timeline; I won’t tell you when.” BlackBerry hopes Priv will fill a niche in the smartphone market with a device that can work as an enterprise-ready work machine, but be fueled by Android's "expansive mobile application ecosystem."