BlackBerry Ltd (BBRY) CEO Refocuses Smartphone Efforts on Keyboard

John Chen, CEO and chairman of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is refocusing the efforts of the company towards developing smartphones equipped with keyboards, improving its enterprise services and mobile device management business leveraging on the success of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

In an interview with Jon Erlichman of Bloomberg Television at the International Consumer Electronics Conference (CES) in Las Vegas, Chen said, “I personally love the keyboards.” He added the devices of the Canadian smartphone manufacturer in the future will “predominantly” have physical keyboards.

Since taking over the leadership of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) committed to reclaiming the success of the company by taking advantage of its tremendous assets. The keyboard contributed to the early success of the company because of its relevance to its corporate and government clients. They prefer smartphones with actual keyboard because it allows them to easily compose e-mails.

BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) recently showed the importance of its keyboard when it filed a patent infringement case against the maker of keyboard case for iPhones—Typo Products LLC, which was founded by entrepreneur Laurence Hallier and TV host Ryan Seacrest.

BlackBerry’s general counsel and chief legal officer, Steve Zipperstein said the Canadian smartphone manufacturer will vigorously protect its intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy its keyboard’s unique design. He emphasized, “We will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”

At the CES, Chen indicated that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) in partnership with Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (TPE:2354) is developing a touch-screen smartphone that would cost less than $200.  “Foxconn can be a really great partner, not only to eliminate my inventory risk, but also their ability to penetrate various different markets, call it the developing and emerging markets,”  said Chen.

He added, “For emerging markets, BlackBerry will let Foxconn take a bigger role. But we will do the next set of cool phones.”

Furthermore, Chen said the company is also creating a high-end smartphone in-house with a traditional keyboard. He emphasized that the company is “not retreating from the consumer business.”

He is confident that BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) will generate positive cash flows over the next four quarters, and will become profitable by 2016.