How would you like to try a GoogleBerry on for size?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
The mobile giant known as BlackBerry has had an interesting year to say the least - and by interesting, I mean somewhat depressing. I've expressed in past articles that it is bittersweet knowing that a company that was so popular not all that long ago, and a company that had such high hopes at the beginning of the year of renewing the love in their platform, is actively seeking to sell their company by next month. Although BlackBerry already agreed to be acquired by Fairfax, according to our news hound Alex it seems that BlackBerry isn't done shopping for a new owner yet. While both parties are waiting for the due diligence period to end and making sure they really want to go through with this sale and purchase, BlackBerry is making sure that this is the absolute best deal they're going to get.
The sale of BlackBerry could mean many things. Depending on the terms and agreements, a new company could inherit all of what BlackBerry has to offer, or possibly only some. While it seems that Fairfax has stated that they have big plans in store for BlackBerry and its customers, it's not surprising to learn that BlackBerry is considering selling itself to a company that assisted in its downfall. Rumors suggest that BlackBerry may be in talks with Google regarding the sale of the company, which got me to thinking about what life would be like in a world with a company like "GoogleBerry".
The first thing that came to mind for me, just to put a picture in my head, was an Android device on BlackBerry hardware. Now, I'll admit, I'm not sure how well a device like the Q10 running on Android would sell these days. Android has tinkered with BlackBerry-like designs on their phones before, and none of them have ever gotten to be very popular. The design works well with BlackBerry, but with Android it seems like bigger virtual screens are going to be more popular than smaller screens with a physical keyboard. As for the Z10 and A10 models, to be quite honest, there wasn't anything super special about the builds that would make me think it would do any better over other brands of hardware already out on the market. Android is a very saturated platform with plenty of hardware to choose from as it is - and other than the signature look with a physical QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry phones don't have a whole lot to offer. But I do imagine there are lot of design features that BlackBerry has patents on that would have Google thinking about the purchase.
Patents. And that's when I realized the real reason behind such a sale would be a good buy for Google. BlackBerry has so many useful patents that Google could use against the competition. BlackBerry is still very well-known for how secure their servers are, and I have a feeling that if anybody could benefit from such notorious security features that it would be Android. Even though, as it turns out, Android isn't really that bad security-wise, it could still use the marketing boost to help its argument.
There's also the possibility that Android could take parts from BlackBerry OS/BlackBerry 10 and implement them in with Android, and kind of combine the two somewhere down the line. I imagine this would mean taking all that makes BlackBerry Messenger and making it Google's own brand. With both Google services and BBM already being on iOS, it seems like it wouldn't be that hard to combine the two to make one super messaging service for both platforms already involved.
Although I'm a little upset to see BlackBerry unable to carry on in its current state, I can't say that the idea of BlackBerry and Google combining would make me very upset. I like BlackBerry, and I like Android. I think that both would be able to complement each other nicely; after all, Android has one of the major missing components that I think BlackBerry needed in order to succeed, and that's having most mainstream applications readily available. Sure, you can sideload some Android applications onto BlackBerry 10, but a lot of people don't know and don't care to deal with that in order to get it. BlackBerry's security could help people who are unsure about the security of Android feel more comfortable with the platform. I think it could work out well, if it ever happened to come to fruition.
Readers, what are your thoughts on a possible Google/BlackBerry merger? What features or combinations of the two would make you consider purchasing a GoogleBerry device?