Last week we shared the latest plan to keep advancing our smartphone portfolio. Unfortunately, the news was misinterpreted by many – from the media, to tech observers, to our fans and customers.
I made the rounds the past couple of days with the press to set the record straight, and the message was this – BlackBerry is not backing away from BB10. Our customers depend on the BB10 platform and they are the ones that drive our roadmap.
That is why we are committed to not just maintaining BB10 software, but advancing it to be even more secure and provide even greater productivity. You’ll see that with the next 10.3.3 update coming within the next month, which will be focused on enhancing our already-stellar privacy and security features.
Future BB10 software updates for 2017 are already in the works. Meanwhile, BlackBerry 10 devices such as the BlackBerry Passport and Leap are still available to our loyal customers.
Our customers also help us decide what type of keyboard we make for them. And what they ask for is choice in both a virtual and physical keyboard. This means we’ll continue to make our iconic BlackBerry keyboard. We have four physical keyboard options that we currently offer: Passport, Passport Silver Edition, Classic and PRIV. There is solid demand for physical keyboards – and as long as that’s the case, we’ll continue to make them. For virtual keyboard fans, you have Leap and PRIV (just keep that slider down).
Now that you know we’re committed to BB10, let me explain why BlackBerry’s device strategy is truly unique. It’s differentiated because it goes beyond just smartphones. Our view is that the rapidly growing mobile environment is quickly being encompassed by an IoT world that requires both strong security and connectivity.
The foundation for this started with the BB10 software platform, which was built by engineers with decades of experience in security. But we knew there was a need to bridge the connectivity gap – leveraging Android was the solution. But, we didn’t just want to create another prosaic Android device.
We wanted to merge the best of BlackBerry with Android – the notion of a new merged BlackBerry platform meant we would provide the security and connectivity BlackBerry is known for, with the content available in the Android ecosystem – all in one environment.
BlackBerry is the only one with this unique flavor of smartphone in the market today. PRIV was the first iteration…and soon there will be others.
At BlackBerry, we’re not looking to fit into the industry standard mold. That’s because mobility has evolved beyond just smartphones and tablets. Besides our burgeoning enterprise software business, the new Mobility Solutions division has defined a strategy enabling us to agilely pursue opportunities in this new security-focused era.
About Marty Beard
Marty Beard (martyjbeard @ Twitter) is Chief Operating Officer at BlackBerry. He is responsible for leading cross-functional operations, including Marketing, Strategic and Application Partnering, Pricing, Corporate Support and Quality, eCommerce Sales and Security Evangelism. Marty previously served as Chairman and CEO of LiveOps, Inc., a software and services provider of cloud applications for customer service. He was also President of Sybase 365, a mobile messaging and mobile commerce unit of Sybase, Inc., and Vice President for eCommerce at Oracle Corp. He has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Georgetown University.