BlackBerry could kill its handset business in 2016

CEO is refreshingly honest

BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry's problems have been headline news for a number of years now, and even after a major refresh under the leadership of John Chen there's still no sign of profit for the company. Now it sounds like there could be a deadline on making BlackBerry profitable before it quits handsets altogether.

Speaking at the Code/Mobile conference BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the possibility of future phones beyond the Priv would depend on the "business case".

Chen said, "I'm in the handset business because I believe there's value added and a market that is underserved."

He added: "Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there."

He was also brandishing the new BlackBerry Priv smartphone, which runs the Android OS alongside BlackBerry 10 and a slide-out keyboard.

Giving up

Chen also told The Verge that BlackBerry needs to sell 5 million phones a year to make the phone element of the business a success.

The BlackBerry Passport didn't sell particularly well – the company only sold 8,000 phones in the first quarter of this year.

There was no specific details of a timescale to hit profit, but Chen has clearly been contemplating dropping the phone side and focusing on the software element of the business.

BlackBerry recently announced it would buy rival Good Technology for $425 million to focus more on the market that allows mobile devices to access corporate networks.

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