BlackBerry's Foxconn-made phone to cost under $200 as CEO pledges not to give up on consumers

Summary:BlackBerry's more modest smartphone plans in 2014 will see at least two devices emerge from the company.

BlackBerry isn't ready to give up on consumers just yet, revealing its new partnership with Foxconn will culminate in a touchscreen phone priced at under $200.

Recently-appointed BlackBerry CEO John Chen shared details of the upcoming Foxconn-made BlackBerry device at the CES conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

The manufacturing deal with Foxconn was outlined along with the release of BlackBerry's worse than expected Q3 results as part of a turnaround plan for the company, following failed efforts to recapture the high-end smartphone market now controlled by Apple and Samsung.

While the Foxconn-made touchscreen device will be aimed at consumers in Indonesia and other emerging markets, Chen also said BlackBerry will launch a higher-end smartphone with a traditional keyboard, ZDNet's sister site CNET reported.

BlackBerry's smartphone plans have been dialled down in recent months, but Chen reiterated that BlackBerry is "not retreating from the consumer business". And while the CEO admitted Samsung and its efforts around Knox "could be a threat" in the enterprise, BlackBerry isn't ready to admit defeat yet. "I love a good fight," Chen said. 

Besides the Foxconn deal, BlackBerry has made number of key executive changes in the past few weeks, including dropping Alicia Keys as its chief creative officer and appointing former HTC exec Ron Louks to head up its devices business.

Chen denied BlackBerry was outsourcing its devices business to Foxconn, but noted that it would be letting Foxconn take a bigger role in emerging markets. Foxconn will take on mechanical design as well hold inventory for the devices, in addition to offering savings by utilising more standardised components, he said. However, BlackBerry's own salesforce will continue selling devices.

Chen, who has said he will stay at BlackBerry throughout its turnaround, expects the company to be financially and strategically sound within the next 18 months.

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Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, Smartphones


Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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