A comment was made in one of the BBC video interview which was published last week Wednesday, a week after the Canadian smartphone pioneer announced the stopping of hardware development in-house. So instead, it said it would rely on partners to produce BlackBerry devices.
The comment was made by BlackBerry’s sales executives which says the company will introduce a new smartphone with its unique physical keyboard within the next six months.
But Chairman and CEO John Chen said last week that he hadn’t decided whether it would be brought to market or not.
The company’s senior vice-president for global device sales, Alex Thurber, was less vague in his interview with BBC.
“There will still be a keyboard-based BlackBerry device, designed and distributed within the next six months. The keyboards set BlackBerrys apart from market-leading Apple and Samsung smartphones that feature touch screens. I think there’s a demand for keyboard phones. As we’ve been showing mockups of what we’ve been working on, to our carrier and distributor partners, they are very excited about this,” Thurber said in the three-minute video.
He also addressed confusion about whether BlackBerry smartphones will disappear or continue to be available after in-house design and development ceases by the end of the company’s 2017 financial year on Feb. 28.
“We will now be working with partners to take our software onto their hardware. So there will continue to be BlackBerry-branded devices for sale all over the world,” Thurber said.
The only such partnership announced is with a joint venture company that will primarily make BlackBerrys for the Indonesian market.
The keyboard phone is expected to be a DTEK model. It will be the first DTEK (touch-screen device) using a BlackBerry version of the Android operating system. It should be expected to begin shipping as at August, 2017.