An undaunted BlackBerry is continuing to pursue its mobile hardware business aggressively, according to a report from VentureBeat. The one-time king of the mobile enterprise is reportedly developing three new Android handsets that are expected to come to market over the next three quarters: the Neon, a low- to mid-range handset that will hit shelves in the next two months; the Argon, which will be targeted at business users; and the Mercury, which is scheduled to debut early next year.
BlackBerry's hardware business once again failed to live up to expectations in the latest quarter, but the company said it will continue to manufacturer phones for at least the next nine months.
BlackBerry may still be struggling to find a market for its Priv handset, but analysts don't expect the company to throw in the towel on its hardware business just yet.
Shares of BlackBerry plunged nearly 9 percent this morning after the company posted unexpectedly low revenues in its fiscal fourth quarter. The company said it shipped 600,000 phones in the quarter, well below expectations.
The analysts at Wells Fargo Securities expect BlackBerry to report shipping roughly 850,000 Priv smartphones during the company's most recent quarter, a figure the financial analyst firm said would help push the vendor's overall corporate quarterly revenues to around $571 million-- slightly above Wall Street expectations of $565 million.
In separate meetings with the FCC, executives from Apple and BlackBerry discussed the agency's proposal to increase the length of mobile emergency alerts from 90 characters to 360. They also debated whether those alerts should include links to websites, and whether those websites would hold up under a barrage of traffic from concerned recipients.
BlackBerry confirmed that it laid off 200 employees in its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, and also in Florida. The company said in a statement provided to media outlets including the New York Times that "we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce. This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities, while driving toward sustainable profitability across all parts of our business."
BlackBerry CEO John Chen told investors today that the company's Priv smartphone, which is based on Google's Android software, is a hit with consumers and will help the company turnaround its struggling hardware business.
BlackBerry's new Priv Android smartphone appears to be available through the nation's largest physical retailer, Walmart, news that helped raise BlackBerry's share price to its highest level since January.
Cognitive Systems Corp., a Canadian startup backed by one of BlackBerry's founders, unveiled a technology for tracking wireless signals that it says can be used for detecting intruders, managing crowds or finding victims of natural disasters.