At one point in time, it would have been hard to imagine a world without BlackBerry smartphones in it, but that may no longer be the case. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that the company might have to reconsider its presence in the handset business if it doesn't turn a profit next year during the Code/Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 8, as reported by Re/code.

Chen later told The Verge offstage that BlackBerry needs to sell 5 million smartphones per year to be profitable. Otherwise, the company might consider exiting the handset business altogether.

This news comes hot on the heels of the revelation that BlackBerry will be releasing its first smartphone that runs on the Android operating system, the Priv, which the company plans to launch later this year. The new phone's release will come at a time when BlackBerry continues to lose market share of the handset business, currently controlling less than one percent of it, according to Re/code.

The release of the Priv has the potential to mark a turning point in BlackBerry's smartphone business, not only in terms of sales but also in the direction the company will go in the future. The Verge also reported that Chen wouldn't say whether or not the company will come out with new BB10 devices in the future, but customers in the high-security business, such as governments and hospitals, who now use these devices the most, will continue to be supported with new software updates. We'll just have to wait and see if they'll eventually get new hardware, too.

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