Dec 20, 2013 02:07 PM EST
2013 was a fairly tumultuous year for BlackBerry, but the company is betting that 2014 will be kinder, banking its fate on continuing adoption of the BBM app on iOS and Android, as well as a new production deal with famed iPhone maker Foxconn.
Although the roll out of the BBM app for Android and iOS was less than perfect and its reception was mixed to say the least, BlackBerry on Friday issued a rosy-sounding press release boasting 40 million new users in the two months since launching its new platform. The company says it intends to release new software features in 2014, but if you think BlackBerry is finally done making phones, think again.
“With the operational and organizational changes we have announced, BlackBerry has established a clear roadmap that will allow it to target a return to improved financial performance in the coming year,” said John Chen, executive chairman and chief executive officer of BlackBerry in a press statement. “While our Enterprise Services, Messaging and QNX Embedded businesses are already well-positioned to compete in their markets, the most immediate challenge for the Company is how to transition the Devices operations to a more profitable business model.”
Translation: BlackBerry is working on a budget smartphone that will be manufactured by Foxconn in Indonesia and Mexico. While the idea of a new, cheap BlackBerry turning around the company’s fortunes sounds dubious at best, investors seem to think otherwise, with BlackBerry shares rising 12 percent following the announcement.
It’s unclear yet whether the budget BlackBerry will be closer to the company’s signature, keyboard-equipped phones or the touchscreen Z10, but we can’t say we’re overly optimistic.
“We have accomplished a lot in the past 45 days, but still have significant work ahead of us as we target improved financial performance next year. However, the Company is financially strong, has a broad and trusted product portfolio to work with, a talented employee base and a new leadership team dedicated to implementing our new roadmap,” Chen said.
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