INSIDE BLACKBERRY BLOG

BlackBerry and Android: Expanding Our World

ANDROID / 09.25.15 / John Chen

Originally posted on CNBC

There has been a lot of buzz regarding BlackBerry launching an Android smartphone. For those restraining excitement until rumors became reality – the day has come.

I confirmed today that the slider phone we very briefly unveiled earlier this year will indeed be an Android smartphone named PRIV by BlackBerry (read some of the reaction here).

PRIV by BlackBerry slogan

With PRIV, our commitment is to continue to provide confidence that your privacy and productivity come first. In today’s hectic world where cyber threats are real for everyone, BlackBerry is making sure that our products invoke this mantra that your privacy is your privilege.

PRIV will be the solution for smartphone users who are learning daily of the lack of privacy they have on their current devices. PRIV will be the answer for former BlackBerry users who miss the physical keyboard but needed apps. And, we’re responding to current – and prospective – BlackBerry users who need it all: choice, innovation, security, privacy and productivity.

What’s unique about our Android phone is that we are collaborating with Google to bring the best of BlackBerry security and productivity to the Android ecosystem.

There will be a camp that reacts to this news with surprise, while others will see how, over the past two years, we’ve laid the groundwork to make this possible. It began with honing in on our DNA of security, privacy and productivity, and then bringing that heritage and continued innovation to other operating systems.

So why is it important that we extend to Android? Launching an Android device is a tremendous new market opportunity as we continue our focus on building a cross-platform strategy. It’s a terrific proposition for dedicated Android users who are seeking greater productivity and powerful privacy features. And we are advancing our own platform, redefining the expectations of mobility in today’s age of risk and cybercrime so that we can serve customers even better.

At the same time, I want to be clear: fans of BlackBerry’s workhorse BlackBerry 10 smartphones can continue to depend on us, and we appreciate their commitment. We will be releasing new updates of this powerful OS in the upcoming year.

There is continued demand for our flagship BlackBerry 10 devices like BlackBerry Passport and Classic by consumers, enterprises and regulated industries. These devices – combined with our network – offer peerless security and productivity advantages. They’re not going away. BlackBerry is offering a new option for those customers who want the apps ecosystem to help them stay productive and engaged in their personal lives, and the security and productivity they demand at work. Combined with BlackBerry’s support of Android for Work on our BES12 platform, the new device will offer best in class security for enterprise customers.

For nearly two years now, I’ve been telling you how we would transform the iconic BlackBerry brand into a true software powerhouse (read about some of the progress that I shared in our Q2 call today). We’re doing this by integrating our strength in building the most secure software and network and embedding it into a one-of-a-kind form factor.

BlackBerry is a new company. We have new life. And we plan to continue to surprise our customers and the industry. This is just the latest move along that path.

John Chen

About John Chen

As Executive Chairman and CEO of BlackBerry Limited, John Chen is responsible for defining the company’s vision and goals, setting its strategy, and ensuring the team’s execution matches corporate objectives. Appointed in November 2013, John has led BlackBerry through a successful pivot from hardware icon to software leader. Today the company is poised to leverage its brand strength and heritage in mobile security along with its enterprise cybersecurity and embedded software growth engines to accelerate into the Enterprise of Things, an emerging category with billions of connected devices and massive market potential.

John came to BlackBerry a distinguished leader and proven turnaround executive with more than 40 years of engineering and management experience along with a reputation that extends well-beyond the technology industry. Prior to joining BlackBerry, John served as Chairman and CEO of Sybase Inc. where he re-invented the company and led it through 55 consecutive quarters of profitability, providing outstanding shareholder returns during his 15-year tenure.

A global business leader with a strong interest in policy, John has testified before Congress on U.S.–China trade relations and was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush to serve on the President's Export Council. In 2006, he was appointed co-chair of the Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee. Additionally, John chaired the U.S.-China Policy Advisory Roundtable for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), served on the Board of the National Committee on U.S. China Relations from 2012-2018, and has been a member of the Committee of 100 since 1997 and its Chairman from 2009-2011.

John graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). John has an honorary professorship from Shanghai University, and honorary doctorates from San Jose State University, City University of Hong Kong, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. John has received awards from the U.S.-Asia Institute, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the California-Asia Business Council, and the U.S.-Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation.

John served on the Board of Directors for The Walt Disney Company (2004-2019) and Wells Fargo & Co. (2006-2018). He is also active in the not-for-profit community, and is a trustee of Caltech, board member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, member of CFR, national trustee of The First Tee and Governor of the San Francisco Symphony.