BlackBerry may soon release an Android Phone, says report
BlackBerry users should be on the lookout for the Android BlackBerry smartphone that BlackBerry may consider releasing. BlackBerry may be looking to Google’s Android operating system to power an upcoming smartphone. The struggling smartphone maker could run Android on an “upcoming slider device” that will likely be released within this year Reuters Reported on Thursday. The smartphone would, according to Reuters, combine a touchscreen with a slide-out keyboard that people could use if they prefer.
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen is banking on the company’s new device management system, BES12, that allows corporate and government clients to not only manage BlackBerry devices on their internal networks, but also devices powered by Android, Apple’s iOS platform and Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Windows operating system. One of the hurdles it faces in that transformation is convincing big customers that its device management software works across many different platforms. By launching an Android-based device of its own, BlackBerry would be sending a signal to skeptics that it is confident that the BES12 system can not only manage, but also secure smartphones and tablets powered by rival operating systems.
BlackBerry moves forward on a plan to launch an Android device, it could come with some of the patented features in its BlackBerry 10 operating system. In March, BlackBerry announced that it planned to deliver its patented security, productivity and communication tools to any mobile device running iOS, Android or Windows. The company, which a while ago opened its popular BlackBerry Messaging app to those using rival operating systems, has said it plans to offer more in-house features on rival devices, including BlackBerry Hub and the predictive text capabilities of its virtual keyboard. Chen in March said the company was still committed to its own devices business.
BlackBerry has cut headcount in its hardware unit even further. The company, which at a 2011 peak employed 17,500 people and in February was down to 6,225, said last month that it was making further cuts on the device side, without providing any numbers.
At this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show, BlackBerry teased a smartphone with a curved display that wraps around the side, like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and a slide-out keyboard. It is unclear if the teased smartphone is the one that will run Android. BlackBerry also unveiled an all-touchscreen phone called the Leap at the show, a departure from its earlier line-up, which was totally dependent on BlackBerry’s trademark physical keyboard.
The move would be a tacit admission of the failure of BlackBerry’s homegrown mobile operating system to win over new smartphone customers. The BlackBerry OS saw its market share fall to just 0.4 percent in 2014, according to IDC. An embrace of Android, however, would fall in line with the smartphone maker’s focus shift toward software and services layered on top of devices.Reports CNET.
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