BlackBerry is dead. Long live BlackBerry Android.

At least that’s the impression we are getting from BlackBerry CEO John Chen during an interview at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. According to the CEO, the company plans on doubling down its efforts with BlackBerry Android smartphones for 2016, following the relative success of the BlackBerry Priv. You might remember that the slider smartphone was completely sold out at one point, something that the company couldn’t say (as far as I know) about any of its devices before that.

Now that the 60-day exclusivity deal with AT&T has expired and the $700 flagship BlackBerry Priv is available for sale through Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, sales of the smartphone could increase even further. Given how things have been going in Waterloo, Ontario, it’s probably in their best interest to keep the positive momentum going.

And that’s why we’re hearing that we could be in store for one or maybe even two new BlackBerry Android smartphones later this year. This will come at the price of leaving BlackBerry 10 behind, or at least quietly simmering on the back burner, as they move forward with Android handsets instead. For the time being, Chen is “cautiously optimistic” and he’s “confident in profitability” for 2016.

But what will the new BlackBerry Android phone (or phones) look like? If earlier rumors are to be believed, the device codenamed “Vienna” is next on the docket. It could have a permanent QWERTY keyboard along with a touchscreen rather than going with the slider form factor of the Priv. It could be positioned at the higher-end of the mid-range, if that makes any sense at all.


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