BlackBerry Phones May Soon Be A Thing Of The Past: CEO

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Five million.

That's how many phones BlackBerry's CEO, John Chen, says the company needs to sell a year to make its handset business profitable, The Verge reports.

If it doesn't, Chen hints that the company may leave the handset business altogether — a stark contrast to the days when BlackBerry/Research In Motion was a smartphone giant.

“Sometime next year we have to make our device business profitable, otherwise I have to rethink what I do there,” Chen said at the Code Mobile conference in California last week. “My job is to make sure the value of the company is protected and increases ... Even if I’m not in the handset business, getting into providing security for Android lets us provide solutions via software.”

This isn't the first time Chen has hinted at BlackBerry's exit. In fact, he outlined his stance more concretely in 2014.

"If I cannot make money on handsets, I will not be in the handset business," Chen told Reuters last year.

The company anticipates that a large volume of its (meagre) sales goal will come from its upcoming Android phone Priv, which will be launched later this year, Chen said.

For reference, Apple sold 13 million iPhone 6s in just three days following its launch this fall. BlackBerry sold some 800,000 devices last quarter.

The Priv is BlackBerry's attempt to bring its handset business into the black. The phone would combine BlackBerry's security strengths with Googe Play's massive app and content library.

Chen wouldn't say whether or not the company would still be making BB10 devices two years from now. “Well, that’s going to be dictated by business choices."

The Verge's Dan Seifert put what Priv means to BlackBerry's future best: "The Priv may be the last BlackBerry smartphone if it doesn't succeed."

Also on The Huffington Post

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