BlackBerry Ltd., which struggled to entice customers with touch-screen models last year, plans to return its focus to keyboard-equipped phones under Chief Executive Officer John Chen.
“I personally love the keyboards,” Chen said Monday. In the future, the company’s phones will “predominantly” have physical keyboards, he said, rather than touch screens.
Chen, who took the CEO job in November, is trying to rebuild the company after last year’s BlackBerry 10 touch-screen lineup fizzled with consumers – contributing to billions of dollars of write-downs.
As part of the comeback plan, BlackBerry is refocusing on the corporate and government customers that fueled its early success. Those users preferred real keyboards because they made it easier to hammer out emails.
Last month, Chen announced a five-year deal with Foxconn Technology Group to outsource the manufacturing and design of some of its phones, aiming to offload more of the costs of its unprofitable manufacturing operations.
BlackBerry rose 6.1 percent to $8.50 Tuesday, taking the stock to its highest level since September.
The stock has gained 36 percent since the day before the Foxconn deal was announced in December.
While the first Foxconn-built phone is expected to be a touch-screen device, Chen said the traditional keyboard will hold sway in the long run.