BlackBerry reportedly may put Android system on new device

According to a report from Reuters, BlackBerry is considering equipping an upcoming smartphone with Google’s Android software for the first time, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

The sources, who asked not to be named as they have not been authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said the move to use Android is part of BlackBerry’s strategy to pivot to focus on software and device management.

It is not clear whether a move to use Android would spell the end of the company’s BlackBerry 10 line of devices, or if it is simply just for one device.

“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched,” said the company in an email.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

If BlackBerry release an Android smartphone, it would solve their major app problem in one go. A full blown Android smartphone would come with Google Services, the Google Play Store and open up a multitude of apps to BlackBerry users.

BlackBerry will be releasing a slider smartphone before the end of the year and this would be the perfect device to introduce the Android OS completely. Keyboard users would have their physical keyboard, while those who prefer all touch screens could simply use it as such, ignoring the physical keyboard behind.

The other advantage would be that BlackBerry would not just be launching “another” android smartphone but would be launching a completely unique android device. Of course, for it to even have a chance of succeeding, the specs would have be to be at least on par with the latest high end android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, LG G4, etc.

IF the report is true, and it is a big IF, the permutations for BlackBerry are many.  They could theoretically produce android phones for consumers, leaving the unpopular BlackBerry 10 devices for the enterprise sector.  Of course, they could also drop BlackBerry 10 altogether but this would require them selling android phones in the millions and vastly outselling the BlackBerry 10 devices.

The interesting thing is that BlackBerry 10 smartphones just keep winning awards, which suggests that the masses simply don’t like the BlackBerry 10 OS (due to the fact it operates completely differently and it’s lack of apps) but don’t necessarily dislike the devices.

Running on the android platform would also not only open up BlackBerry to a huge amount of apps but a whole wealth of android developers.

The move isn’t really too much of a surprise as BlackBerry have been slowly but surely implementing more and more android features and the BlackBerry Hub and other BlackBerry 10 software is already due to be released for android as apps. BlackBerry 10 relies on emulated Android apps for much of its library, the BBM Messenger app was eventually released on iOS and Android, and BlackBerry has integrated its security technology into the Knox software on Samsung’s Android phones. Releasing a full-fledged Android phone could boost BlackBerry’s enterprise credentials by proving that its security and device management software work on other, more popular platforms.

An android smartphone secured by BlackBerry with features like the hub etc may just be the thing that the company needs.

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