Blackberry CEO will offer glimpse into company's next steps -

Blackberry CEO will offer glimpse into company’s next steps


ORLANDO, Fla. – Several questions about the future direction of BlackBerry will be answered this morning as the head of the company takes the stage at its annual conference in Orlando, Fla.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins is expected to deliver a speech that will give investors and tech industry players an idea of where Blackberry is headed for the rest of the year.

That could include unveiling details about a lower priced smartphone for some international markets.

Such an announcement would move the company closer towards what Heins has envisioned since he stepped into the leadership role nearly a year and a half ago.

He wants to see Blackberry create a portfolio of smartphones that expands beyond the higher priced models into both a mid-priced and entry level version of the device.

Observers will also be listening to see whether Heins offers further comment on whether BlackBerry plans to stay in the tablet market where its PlayBook failed to steal the spotlight from Apple’s iPad.

BlackBerry launched the much-delayed touchscreen and keyboard versions of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones earlier this year, and sales numbers have been slowly trickling out from Canada and the U.K., though figures from the U.S. are unlikely to be made public until the company reports its quarterly earnings in June.

In the meantime, the conference in Orlando gives BlackBerry an opportunity to dazzle a captive audience while delivering a message to consumers that it’s still in the game to compete with Apple and Android smartphones.

On Tuesday night, the company will hold the traditional party at it has at Universal Studios. This year Alicia Keys will perform, as well as R&B singer Miguel and Alabama Shakes.

The concert is scheduled to be streamed online for free at the BlackBerry website.

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