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Instant Analysis: BlackBerry Ltd Reaffirms Commitment to BlackBerry 10

By Evan Niu, CFA - Jan 8, 2016 at 2:00PM

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BlackBerry isn't giving up on BlackBerry 10 ... yet.

What happened?
Following reports that BlackBerry (BB -4.49%) is planning on release one or two more Android phones in 2016, there was some inevitable speculation that BlackBerry may be transitioning away from its own BlackBerry 10 operating system.

CEO John Chen has penned a blog post to reiterate that BlackBerry 10 is "far from" dead and that the company remains committed to the platform. Chen reiterated the operating system's strengths in security and productivity, and said additional enhancements are coming to BlackBerry 10 this year. The next version, 10.3.3, will include government-grade security testing compliance, and the company is already working on the next version, 10.3.4. Chen says BlackBerry will share more details about the roadmap when it is ready.

Does it matter?
The notion of BlackBerry ditching BlackBerry 10 makes plenty of sense, considering BlackBerry 10's lack of popularity among average consumers. The very decision to embrace Android in the first place is an implicit acknowledgment of this fact, and the PRIV's sales performance will ultimately determine whether or not it was the right decision (it probably was).

Most smartphone OEMs embrace multiplatform strategies as a way to hedge their bets and diversify their product portfolios, so while BlackBerry supporting both Android and BlackBerry 10 wouldn't be unheard of in this respect, BlackBerry's handset business has long been in a precarious financial position. Making the handset business profitable has long been one of Chen's top priorities, and supporting two platforms increases the operating expenses associated with development and maintenance, which in turn hinders profitability.

Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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