Blackberry seems to think it can return to handset success via Android.
According to a report from VentureBeat, the smartphone company is reportedly working on three new Android-based handsets, code named Neon, Argon and Mercury. The devices will be released one at a time over the next three quarters, the report said.
Rumored for release either this month or next, the Neon will reportedly include a 5.2-inch touchscreen, a Snapdragon 617 processor, 16 GB of storage a 2,610 mAh battery, a 13 mp rear camera and an 8 mp front camera.
The Argon, reportedly slated for launch in the fall, will be slightly larger, with a 5.5-inch QHD touchscreen display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 32 GB of storage, a 3,000 mAh battery with QuickCharge and a fingerprint scanner. The Argon’s cameras will reportedly get a boost from those of the Neon, with a 21 mp rear camera and an 8 mp front camera.
Finally, there’s the Mercury, which will reportedly be released in early 2017. That device will purportedly include a physical Blackberry keyboard, a 4.5-inch HD screen, Snapdragon 625 processor, 32 GB of storage, a 3,400 mAh battery, an 18 mp rear camera and an 8 mp front camera.
The news both is and isn’t a surprise.
Back in April, Blackberry CEO John Chen told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National that Blackberry was planning to release two Android smartphones this year, including one with a physical keyboard and one with a standalone touchscreen. Chen said the focus would be on releasing mid-range devices in the hopes of achieving greater success than the company did with its premium Priv device.
However, Chen has said many times before Blackberry might exit the device market if its efforts to turn around the failing segment aren’t successful.
And so far they don’t appear to be working.
Back in April, Blackberry said it only sold around 600,000 devices for the quarter ended February 29. During the company’s most recent earnings call earlier this week, Chen said that figure had dropped to just 500,000 units. In the three months ended May 31, 2016, Blackberry’s mobile segment brought in just $152 million in revenue, down from $190 million the previous quarter and $269 million a year earlier.
In his interview with The National, Chen said Blackberry is hoping the upcoming mid-range devices will appeal to customers – especially enterprise customers – who liked the Priv but thought the price was too steep.