Rumors of BlackBerry hardware running Android software have been more aggressive lately, with some major insiders in the industry even supporting some of the rumors from time to time. Although rumors are just rumors and should always be taken with a grain of salt, it can be hard not to consider the possibilities when a rumor keeps recurring. The “BerryDroid” rumor just happens to be one of those persistent rumors.
Not too long ago we were presented with the rumor that the slider BlackBerry we briefly previewed during MWC 2015 may very well be BlackBerry’s first Android device. While there still hasn’t been any confirmation on this yet, more intricate details have been leaking to suggest that the phone (known as the “BlackBerry Venice”) will have full access to Google Apps (meaning it won’t be running a forked version of Android, like Amazon’s Fire OS) and would be available on AT&T as early as this fall.
But as exciting as a completely new BlackBerry device might be for Android and BlackBerry fans, the idea of familiar BlackBerry hardware running on Android has recently been thrown out there: the BlackBerry Passport.
There isn’t much to work with on this leak (or idea) with aside from a single render tweeted by @evleaks, but it’s enough to get the wheels turning at the possibility. The render shows a device with the same physical keyboard seen on the uniquely designed Passport also had a very Android-like menu on the slight preview we get of the screen.
Aside from nostalgic purposes, one has to wonder whether people would actually want a Passport running on Android or not.
On one hand, BlackBerry has always been known for its dedication to physical keyboards, and for the most part the actual design of BlackBerry’s keyboards are well-received. However, then you have to consider the fact that physical keyboards are difficult to come by these days. Virtual keyboards have proven to be the new favorite; earlier Android devices featured physical keyboards, and none of them stood the test of time.
But I suppose if any company was going to make the physical keyboard succeed in the already saturated Android market, BlackBerry would be the company to do it.
Admittedly BlackBerry’s Passport would be a refreshing change for Android users. For the most part (when it comes to flagships, anyway) you have your typical slab-style phone. Maybe a stylus here or a couple of edges there, but that’s basically as unique as it gets. The Passport has specs that would make it a good Android device, it has good battery life, and it’s pretty big (which seems to be an important trait in smartphones these days). Ultimately I think it would come down to whether the physical keyboard really has run its course, or if BlackBerry still has the means to save the dying feature.
If I had to guess, though, the fact that BlackBerry itself isn’t doing so hot combined with the lack of Android devices featuring physical keyboards, BlackBerry won’t be making any major comebacks if this is a road they decide to take. I do think that making a switch to Android would prolong the longevity of BlackBerry’s hardware, though, and as long as they were somehow able to include the essential software and security that makes a BlackBerry a BlackBerry, it could make for a beautiful partnership – at least for a little while.