BlackBerry has been planning on a couple of new Android phones which may launch later this year, but even though the company hasn't been too forthcoming about them until recently, it has announced a couple of management changes in the last few weeks, having appointed Alex Thurber as the head of global device sales just a few weeks ago. Now BlackBerry is announcing that they're appointing Ralph Pini as the head of their devices division, which is somewhat notable as Pini was known for having been part of the team at Motorola that shipped the original Moto RAZR clamshell device.
The appointment of Ralph Pini as COO and GM for Devices comes not long after John Chen gave the media probably the clearest hint so far on more Android phones being on the way. In an interview with the CNBC on the sidelines of Milken Institute Global Conference last week, Chen said that BlackBerry will launch two new Android phones between now and the end of the year and that the company will stay in the phone business for now and will make it a profitable one as well. In a separate interview, he added that while one of the upcoming phones will feature a physical keyboard, the other one will launch with a touchscreen display. He also mentioned that both launches will take place before the end of February 2017 which clashes with the schedule of the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
In an interview that was published on BlackBerry's official blog yesterday, Ralph Pini said that his initial focus after taking over is on creating end-to-end devices that will feature BlackBerry's security technology as well as the latest innovations in the market. 'We are working on delivering innovation and new products that we hope will exceed expectations while still delivering the gold standard of security that is synonymous with BlackBerry, and ultimately drive the growth of our business,' he said. He added that even if existing BB 10 customers plan on switching to Android, BlackBerry will continue to support them and will offer them more options so that they can use the new operating system while relying on BlackBerry's security at the same time. 'BlackBerry is uniquely positioned to elevate Android as a more viable, hardened option to meet the demands of government and enterprise customers who need the highest levels of security,' he said to Eric Lai, head of blogs and social content at BlackBerry. Last month, CEO John Chen also stated that while BlackBerry's new phones will be priced in the range of $300 to $400, the company will also plan a new strategy to re-enter India which used to be one of its largest markets once and is now the world's second-largest mobile phone market after China.