Friday, November 28th-6.5°C
24302
23988

BlackBerry announces new phones, services as part of comeback strategy

BARCELONA, Spain - BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB) has unveiled a number of new products and services including a low-cost smartphone that will be released in April and an update to its flagship server software for organizations.

The Z3 smartphone, to be introduced first in Indonesia and then to other Asian markets, will sell for less than US$200 without subsidies, the company said Tuesday.

It will later expand to other markets in southeast Asia, one of the areas where the Canadian smartphone pioneer retains a significant share of a market that is now filled with rival devices.

In North America, particularly the United States, BlackBerry has been shoved aside in large part by Apple's iPhones and devices from manufacturers that use the Android operating system.

The Z3 is the first phone made under a new five-year partnership with Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles products in vast factories in China.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry chief executive John Chen said the company will restore the keys in a new keyboard phone that he termed "Classic."

He said the new Q20 is a response to lacklustre sales of last year's Q10, which has a physical keyboard but lacks the track pad or keys for functions. He said the company got many complaints about that.

BlackBerry also announced plans to expand its services for businesses needing secure communications, particularly in regulated industries such as health care and financial services. There are plans, for instance, to go beyond securing just email and messaging.

Among the announcements at the Barcelona trade show, BlackBerry said Tuesday it will bring out a new version and new pricing structure for the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which IT departments use to manage the email and other services for their mobile workforces.

The company says BES12 will combine features of previous versions of the system, to be available by the end of 2014.

BlackBerry also announced eBBM, a version of its BlackBerry Messenger service designed for its enterprise customers.

It's part of the company's plan to focus on its strengths in business services. BlackBerry strayed from that as it tried to lure consumers with new devices.

BlackBerry was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other consumers before Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, showing that phones could handle much more than email and calls. BlackBerry was slow in modernizing its operating system, and once it did, the much-hyped system flopped.

Chen was brought in as CEO late last year after talks to sell the company collapsed.

Although he has been credited with turning around Sybase, a data company that was sold to SAP in 2010, Chen has acknowledged that reviving BlackBerry will be his most "complicated" challenge.

In the latest quarter, ending Nov. 30, BlackBerry reported a $4.4 billion loss and a 56 per cent drop in revenue. But the company said it had plenty of cash to engineer a turnaround, focused on areas where it had the greatest strength..

The new partnership with Foxconn will help reduce much of BlackBerry's manufacturing costs. Foxconn, known for its manufacturing contract work on Apple's iPhones and iPads, will jointly design and manufacture most BlackBerry devices and manage inventory of the devices.

Chen said BlackBerry will now target the heavily regulated industries that require greater security. It will simplify its pricing and let people upgrade to the latest systems for free this year. It will also offer free services this year for companies that had left BlackBerry for rivals.

BBM has been considered one of the reasons for BlackBerry's success in wooing customers to earlier versions of its smartphones.

The company announced Monday that it will make its BBM text messaging system available to two more types of smartphones, those running the Windows operating system and the Nokia X platform.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, shares in Blackberry closed up 70 cents, or 6.88 per cent, at $10.87 on Monday after having gone as high as $11.18 earlier in the day.

_ With files from The Canadian Press.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23511


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14744.70-177.74
S&P CDNX741.87-13.53
DJIA17828.240.49
Nasdaq4791.63+4.312
S&P 5002067.56-5.27
CDN Dollar0.8756-0.0004
Gold1175.20-21.40
Oil66.15-7.54
Lumber329.40+1.40
Natural Gas4.295+0.144

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.145-0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.27-0.07
Cantex0.04-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.1998+0.0288
Metalex Ventures0.06+0.02
Russel Metals29.91-0.79
Copper Mountain Mining1.94-0.18
Colorado Resources0.125-0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.0134-0.0001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.005
Mission Ready Services0.325+0.005

 
24130




FEATURED Property
21468706168 Davies Crescent
3 bedrooms 2 baths
$389,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Don't stop dreaming!

On Wednesday evening I drove through the Bow Valley in Alberta. It is my old home town... the first place Jackie and I moved to in 1988 when we emigrated. We ended up setting up home there and living...


Second marriage issues

It is not unusual that one or both of the parties planning to marry are approaching marriage for the second time. There are pluses and minuses to this new situation. On the plus side, individuals ente...


The last great Canadian tax shelter

A guide to how flow-through fund limited partnerships can mightily aid your tax planning!The end of the year will raise concerns among many professionals, self-employed persons, business owners and ev...

_



24119

24220


Member of BC Press Council


22632