OK, so BlackBerry CEO John Chen knows that consumers have been dumping BlackBerry handsets in favor of iPhones, Android phones and even Windows Phones for years now. However, he’s not giving up on consumers just yet and he really thinks that BlackBerry can rise once again to become a major power in the consumer smartphone market if we just give it enough time.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Chen was asked why any consumer should buy a BlackBerry among the many, many options that they have for smartphones these days. His response was much the same as the response that BlackBerry has been giving consumers for years.
“Android’s strength isn’t really the quality of the phone, which BlackBerry has,” Chen said. “BlackBerry phones are always well put together. We have a great BlackBerry Messenger experience, a great operating system. And it’s the most secure phone. Secure not only in data but in personal identity. Younger consumers love all kinds of apps, and BlackBerry runs 98% of all the Android apps. All BlackBerry die-hards know they can run Android apps.”
While it’s true that Android phones’ quality varies greatly, it’s also the case that there are plenty of well put together Android phones out there such as the HTC One (M8) and the Nexus 5. As for BlackBerry Messenger, it’s still a hugely popular messaging app… but it also happens to be available on Android, along with 100% of “all the Android apps” that Chen mentions. This only leaves us with security as a major reason to pick BlackBerry, and while it’s true that BlackBerry has a big advantage in this realm over Android, it’s also true that consumers generally haven’t cared about it.
Elsewhere in the interview, Chen said that there are limits to how far he’ll go in chasing consumers — while the recently released BlackBerry Z3 smartphone costs around $190, Chen doesn’t see BlackBerry going into the sub-$100 smartphone market, which is where the truly dirt-cheap Android phones lurk.