John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry, has confirmed that two Android smartphones are on the way in the near future, one with a physical keyboard, and one with a full touchscreen. This surprise was dropped in an interview Abu Dhabi publication: The National.
In the interview, Chen admits, that debuting in the Android market with a flagship device was probably a mistake. At that level of competition, you’re up against big players who have had years of experience in the market. It doesn’t take a big flaw to separate the best from the rest in the big leagues. Kicking off a new phase in your company's life with something a little less ambitious is definitely a wiser course of action.
This time around, BlackBerry is aiming at the mid-range market. That’s a good idea. People going after a non-flagships are usually after a good deal, rather than ‘the best’ device in town. Marketing to this demographic is far easier than it is to premium buyers, who by this stage in the game usually come pre-biased with their own opinions and allegiances.
On top of that, BlackBerry’s primary market is still the Enterprise. Where consumers might be happy for fork out top-dollar for the right to techno-brag, businesses seek a more utilitarian, not to mention cheaper, approach.
Boldly going where many have gone before
BlackBerry actually has a decent chance of securing a place in the Enterprise market for Android. Where many manufacturers focus on consumer-friendly bells and whistles, the Canadian-run former market-leader is still very much a security-based business.
“We’re the only people who really secure Android, taking the security features of BlackBerry that everyone knows us for and make it more reachable for the market." – John Chen, via The National
If the Enterprise market can serve as a life raft for the failing company, it could end up being just enough to keep its head above the water until a viable consumer approach can be created.
Frankly, this is something that should have been done years ago, but it’s nice to see that, at the very least, BlackBerry will go down swinging, and might even get a few good hits in if it maintains focus.