BlackBerry CEO on Plans with BBM, Future Phone Releases

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John Chen believes in money. He believes in BlackBerry and BBM. In fact, he believes in BBM so much that he would sell it for $19 billion (the amount paid by Facebook for WhatsApp). But until the company he runs gets that $19 billion check, he has a couple of plans for BBM, their (decently) popular messaging service — like tweaking it to become a platform for sending money.

His possible plans were revealed in an interview with Re/code, where he said that the Canadian smartphone manufacturer is eyeing the expansion of BBM services as a way to transfer money, especially in the emerging markets. The company would target markets such as Latin America and Indonesia.

“We’re meeting with partners and we are exploring the market,” BlackBerry enterprise unit president John Sims told Re/code in an interview on Tuesday. “Money movement is an important thing.”

In fact, BBM has already trialled such a service in Indonesia, with its BBM Money service in collaboration with the local Bank Permata allowing users to send money to their BBM contacts and to companies for bill payments.

He also announced plans for two new smartphones coming out this year as a result of the Taiwanese manufacturer, Foxconn, renowned as Apple’s assembly partner. The first device will be called Jakarta and will stand out due to its affordability ($200 unsubsidized).

The second phone will be a BlackBerry Classic — as John Chen calls it, called BlackBerry Q20. One of the key features will be its traditional keyboard and trackpad. The handset is due out before the end of the year.