The Blackberry Priv marked the beginning of an Android-powered era; BlackBerry announces two more phones to be launched this year.

BlackBerry Priv was an interesting idea which piqued the interest of many gadget fans, but the $700 is too high a price tag for an interesting idea, so the device didn’t meet sales expectations – falling more than 250,000 units below the projected 850,000.

What BlackBerry does next is a good idea in my book: they took a good, well received product and tweaked the part that people weren’t mad about: the price. So two new phones will come in to carry on Priv’s legacy. The National‘s interview with BlackBerry CEO John Chen reveals that, although much mystery surrounds the two phones.

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“The company’s chief executive, John Chen, told The National that BlackBerry plans to launch two mid-range Android handsets this year, one with a physical keyboard and one with a full touchscreen. He declined to say when the new devices would go on sale.”

With Facebook and WhatsApp ditching the BlackBerry OS it seems like the company is putting all of their eggs in the Android basket. If these phones won’t succeed in resurrecting the company, they will probably be the last phones BlackBerry makes, John Chen says:

“Since I started at the company [in November 2013] I’ve been saying I’ll make the handset business profitable. If I can’t make it profitable because the market won’t let me, then I’ll get out of the handset business. I love our handset business, but we need to make money.”

The two phones will carry a price tag of around $3-400, and they’re apparently named Hamburg (the touchscreen model) and Rome (the model with a physical keyboard). A Crackberry forum post reveals a poor quality photo that at least gives us an idea of what to expect. If the leak is real, here’s what the new phones will look like:

bb phones

If the past is to be trusted, these phones should be enough to bring BlackBerry’s phone business back afloat. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even imagine a world with no BB phones. Should they match the Priv hardware-wise and pack 3GB RAM, a powerful 18 megapixel camera and a Snapdragon 808 six core processor, they stand a good chance of making it big.

What do you think about BlackBerry’s move to mid-range Android phones? Smart business plan or last stand?

Image source: knowyourmobile.com

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