Blackberry is making a comeback: Part II
In a year full of great new products, BlackBerry is doing something different with the smartphone business.
The company has announced plans to re-open a manufacturing plant in New York and plans to build new production lines in the U.S. and overseas.
It’s the latest chapter in a decade-long turnaround story, which began with a mobile phone line that was bought by Apple in 1999.
The iPhone launched in 2007.
BlackBerry has been a key partner to Apple in that venture and was one of the key companies to help develop the iPhone.
The firm is still a big customer, and has grown into one of Apple’s largest competitors in the smartphone space.
But BlackBerry is also looking to rejoin the smartphone game.
This week, it confirmed that it is working with Toshiba to build an LTE-equipped phone in Japan.
BlackBerry will also be making a big comeback with a new cell phone series that will feature a curved display, a thinner casing and wireless charging capabilities.
The company’s strategy is to rebrand the smartphone as a “smartwatch,” a move that will give the device an identity that matches its larger, more sophisticated cousin.
BlackBerry’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, said that the rebranding strategy has been underway for about six months.
Heins said that he is “optimistic” that the phone will launch this year and said that a rebrand could be ready for market by the end of the year.
The rebrand is expected to launch this spring, he said.
The rebrand comes at a critical time for BlackBerry, which has struggled to recapture its smartphone glory.
The smartphone market has become much smaller and it is becoming harder to get a smartphone for under $1,000, as smartphones get smaller, cheaper and faster.
BlackBerry hopes that its rebrand can help revive its fortunes.
“The re-brand is about being a better watch than the one we had,” said Heins.
He said that BlackBerry was going to offer a “slightly more differentiated” product that would help it attract new customers.
“We are going to have the best smartphone experience in the world,” he said, adding that he was “really excited” about the new products.
Heins said the re-design is about keeping BlackBerry’s “unique, distinctive, and premium brand” intact.
The new products are designed to compete with Apple’s iPhone, which will be launching next year.
He has said that it will be the first time a BlackBerry smartphone will be available in the US.