Rumors of a device that uses BlackBerry hardware but runs on Android is not an uncommon thing to come across. Ever since the initial decline of BlackBerry and the simultaneous rise in Android, the suggestion to combine BlackBerry’s famous hardware and security with Android has been a hot topic. However, such rumors have since proved fruitless. But just because it has been a false claim in the past doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen, and those same rumors are surfacing again, according to a recent article by Reuters.
The idea of an Android-powered BlackBerry doesn’t seem all that far-fetched anymore, especially given the facts. BlackBerry has had the lowest market shares of all four major operating systems for quite a while, and although the company had more success than it originally intended with the uniquely designed BlackBerry Passport last year, things have slowed down once again.
The Passport wasn’t the first things that breathed life into BlackBerry; there have been a number of revelations from BlackBerry over the past two or so years. For one, you had the introduction of BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry’s revamped operating system that was created to really compete with the likes of iOS and Android. Then you have the BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry’s first “modern” slab-style touchscreen smartphone, closely followed by the BlackBerry Q10, which was BlackBerry’s way of keeping their current fan-base. Finally, there’s the additional benefit of being able to side-load Android applications, and then the addition of the Amazon App Store just recently.
BlackBerry has made some pretty great efforts to stay relevant, that’s for sure. But it’s still not enough, so when I now hear rumor of an Android-powered BlackBerry device it’s starting to look more favorable. My only question now is whether that kind of move would work.
Android phones are a dime a dozen these days, so BlackBerry would have to offer something truly different to be able to stand out from a slew of tough competitors. The most obvious guess as to what BlackBerry could offer would be its renowned physical QWERTY keyboard – and given the quick flash of an unnamed BlackBerry device with a portrait slide-out keyboard during MWC, we very well may have already gotten a glimpse of such a device.
While it would be cool (and nostalgic for many) to have a BlackBerry device that ran on Android, I’m not entirely convinced that the physical keyboard was ever meant to make a comeback. I’ve tried going back to the physical keyboard via the BlackBerry Q10 two times, and both times I realized that I typed much faster and more accurately with virtual keyboards. On the flip side, I do think that a lot of BlackBerry users stick around simply for the physical keyboard and would be interested in such a device. I don’t think it would be a massive hit, but I do think that it would sell better than BlackBerry devices currently do.
Get BlackBerry hardware, power it with Android, and slap a BlackBerry 10 launcher on it. As long as it is equipped with BlackBerry security, I think we’d have ourselves something worth looking at.
Is it too late for this long-time dream to actually come true? Maybe. I don’t see a lot of loyalty to BlackBerry unless I go digging around for it. Many people remember them as having good hardware and top-notch security, but it was quickly tossed aside when other platforms started catering more to personal usage rather than focusing primarily on business. But if you take away the one (major) part of BlackBerry that people don’t like and put in a more popular operating system, then it would at least be another option – which is kind of what Android is all about, right?