John Chen

During the Q&A portion of BlackBerry's Q1 2015 earnings call, CEO John Chen answered a question which sheds some light on BlackBerry's strategy as it concerns the profitability of the BlackBerry hardware devision.

"If we ship 10 million phones in a year, we'll be profitable on phones (hardware). That's the model we're going after."

Historically, most people heard the name BlackBerry and only thought about BlackBerry as a smartphone business. When John Chen took over the reigns of the company, he wasted no time in repositioning BlackBerry to be looked at as a portfolio of four business units: handsets/hardware, enterprise (BES), messaging (BBM) and machine to machine systems (QNX/Project Ion). Under this notion, Chen also made it clear that each of these business units needs to be looked at differently as each are in a different stage (BBM is a startup, QNX is a growth opportunity, etc.) and that ultimately each unit needs to be profitable.

This statement today by Chen gives us a little more clarity as to what BlackBerry needs to keep doing in terms of handset sales to keep that division in the black. Chen has been clear that he wants to keep making BlackBerry phones, but obviously if things are not making money he's going to do whatever is necessary to make sure the company is in profitable territory. The 10 million break-even target is not an astronomical number - it should be a number BlackBerry can hit (hopefully with ease!). This should give CrackBerry Nation confidence that we'll have plenty of new hardware to salivate over down the road.