BlackBerry launches its
third Android-based phone
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[October 25, 2016]
By Alastair Sharp
(Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd launched its third Android-based phone
on Tuesday, opting to price the device cheaper than competing products
like Apple Inc's iPhone 7 and Android-maker Alphabet Inc's Pixel.
The Canadian smartphone pioneer, which has lost most of the market to
Apple and others, last month said it planned to outsource the
development of its smartphones to focus on its more profitable business
of software and managing mobile devices.
That means the Android-based DTEK60 will be the last phone for which
BlackBerry buys components itself, which carries a heavier risk if it
does not sell well.
"This one is our phone," BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard
said in an interview. "This is fully our responsibility."
The device, which has a 5.5 inch touchscreen, will be priced at $499.
Apple's iPhone 7 with the same screen size starts at $769, while the
equivalent version of Google's Pixel starts at $649.
"If you look at feature by feature by feature, and you're looking at
dimensions and weight and the display and the memory and the camera, the
battery, it is a very strong comp to both those devices," Beard said.
Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry does not have any distribution deals
with telecom companies that typically offer devices along with
connections to their communications networks.
Instead, it is pitching the phone directly to companies, governments and
other large organizations, as well as selling it on its own websites in
the United States, Canada, and several major European countries.
"It's not necessarily an anti-carrier strategy," Beard said. "It's more
that we see this as the most efficient and most cost-effective way to
get to that customer base."
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A Blackberry sign is seen in front of their offices on the day of
their annual general meeting for shareholders in Waterloo, Canada
June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
DTEK60 is based on a reference design from manufacturer TCL Corp, a Chinese
electronics company that makes phones as well as televisions, air conditioners
and other household appliances.
BlackBerry launched its first Android device, the high-end Priv, in November
last year and followed it with the much cheaper DTEK50 in July.
The company last month wrote down $137 million of inventory and supply
commitments in the six months to the end of August due to limited demand for
phones launched prior to the DTEK50.
(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Bernard Orr)
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