Recovering smartphone maker BlackBerry said it is still planning to launch devices powered by its legacy BlackBerry 7 platform, despite the launch of devices powered by its new BlackBerry 10 operating system earlier this year.
In a conference call, Thorsten Heins, the company’s CEO (pictured), said that “BB7 is still very successful in various markets”, albeit with an emerging territories slant. “We’re planning to launch BB7 products to really serve that market segmentation in those countries”, he said in a conference call.
With regard to the latest OS, Heins said that the intention is to “bring it into the mid tier by the middle of the fiscal year”, and that “we are working toward what we can do in what we call the BlackBerry entry level”.
While the Wall Street Journal described the rollout of a “portfolio of mixed-priced phones” as a “risky strategy to revive the company”, BlackBerry has traditionally offered variants of devices at different price points, for example with its previous Curve line targeting the mass market and its Bold range offering a premium product.
According to a Computerworld report this week, among the products on the BlackBerry roadmap are a new tablet to replace the PlayBook, a phablet, and a phablet with QWERTY keypad. However, it lacked the anticipated mid-tier BlackBerry 10 device referenced by Heins.
One upside from the launch of new BlackBerry 7 devices is that they will generate service revenue for the company – something that is not necessarily the case for BlackBerry 10 devices.
Last week, BlackBerry said it had shipped 6 million smartphones in the quarter to 2 March, including 1 million devices powered by BlackBerry 10.
This, however, continues a downward trend for the company from 14.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.