Long live the BlackBerry Bold!
BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed on a conference call on Friday that the company would continue its production run of the BlackBerry 7-powered Bold smartphone. Chen said the company had signed a deal with manufacturer Wistron to continue building the phones.
"I'm pleased to formally announce a new production run of the Bold," he said. "We'll support the operating system as long as there is new demand."
The move underscores the continuing demand for its original operating system, which remains popular in emerging markets -- where the devices are sold at a much lower price than its new BlackBerry 10-powered phones. With the Bold, BlackBerry hopes to hold on to its share in pockets of overseas markets where there remains some loyalty to the company.
Indeed, a majority of the smartphones sold in the fiscal fourth quarter ran on BlackBerry 7, suggesting continued struggles with its newer platform. Of the 3.4 million BlackBerrys sold to customers, 2.3 million ran on BlackBerry 7.
BlackBerry had previously confirmed that the Bold was sold at a loss. Chen said on Friday that the new production run won't lose money, noting he had struck a new deal with the manufacturer.
"I hope no one thinks we don't take the handset business seriously," he said.