BlackBerry PlayBook

Is BlackBerry planning a return to the tablet market?

During an earnings call with investors, BlackBerry CEO John Chen gave a strong indication that BlackBerry may release another tablet. Although full details were not given, Chen said the device in question would be Android-based.

Chen was clear that the tablet would carry the BlackBerry name, but would be produced by another company.

“One of our partners are very excited to build a tablet based on Android, and so they wanted us to give them the portfolio rights to do that,” Chen stated. “I’m interested to do that because I’m going to get royalties for every tablet they ship.”

The Canadian company has sold tablets before, with the BlackBerry PlayBook an in-house project running the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

This time round, however, BlackBerry’s own flavour of Android would be used, with a partner responsible for the hardware.

Chen did not mention which specific manufacturer was behind the plans. BlackBerry has an existing relationship with Chinese company TCL with regards to smartphone licensing, although they may not have been the partner he was referring to.