BlackBerry Still Plans to Launch New BB7 Devices

BlackBerry launched its next-gen platform, BB10, at the start of February. It powers the Z10 smartphone, and will soon power the Q10 in April.

And while the Waterloo-based smartphone pioneer plans to launch multiple more BB10 devices this year (and up to six different ones in total), we’ve learned that it also still plans to launch devices powered by its legacy platform, BlackBerry OS 7.

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“BB7 is still very successful in various markets,” explained chief executive officer Thorsten Heins in a conference call. “We’re planning to launch BB7 products to really serve that market segmentation in those countries.”

BlackBerry 10 currently serves the high-end market with the Z10 and soon the Q10. After those devices will come mid-tier products, later this year. Which means BB10 may not reach the lower-end markets until late 2014. So the Canadian company is refreshing the hardware for its BB7 devices to keep the platform relevant in emerging markets that primarily buy cheaper smartphones.

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Some say trying to reach all three market tiers is unnecessarily risky for a smartphone maker, while others argue BlackBerry has successfully served all three levels for many years and should continue that strategy. It’s also been pointed out that new BB7 devices will generate guaranteed service revenue for BlackBerry, something that BB10 devices do not.