Recently in tech news there has been an influx of articles revolving around the new BlackBerry Venice, the rumored BlackBerry device that runs on Android, and features a vertical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. For a while, the rumors were more or less 50/50 on whether the device would actually come to fruition or not – after all, how long have rumors of an Android phone with BlackBerry hardware been around? A good, long while. However, the most recent leak of the alleged device makes it seem like this time is the real deal.
In a recent video made by Baka Mobile, a Bell Authorized Dealer in Canada, the “BlackBerry Venice” is shown in a 4-minute video. This video seems to confirm most suspicions of what the BlackBerry flavored Android device would look like: a fairly large-ish display, and a slide-out physical keyboard with capacitive touch (as seen on the BlackBerry Passport). If the video holds any truth to it, the UI doesn’t seem too cluttered, and Google Play Services seem to be present.
Looking at the device in the video, I’m reminded of smartphones from 2011. The slide-out keyboard is a feature that not many smartphones have these days, so it is kind of refreshing that at least one manufacturer out there thinks it’s still a feature worth including – and it’s no surprise that the sentiment comes from BlackBerry. The Venice does actually look pretty nice, in my opinion, and I think this might be the phone that gets people excited about BlackBerry again.
BlackBerry, to me, has always been notorious for three things: hardware, security, and business. Operating systems, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly played out in BlackBerry’s favor in recent years, even with the unveiling of the revamped BlackBerry 10 OS. BlackBerry 10 only seems to have the attention that it does because the Passport was an interesting and decent phone, they managed to hold on to the classic look and feel of old BlackBerry devices, and the OS supports most Android applications.
It only makes sense that BlackBerry would attempt the route of using the Android operating system and incorporating BlackBerry’s business-centric software in order to boost sales, as this would probably attract users of a younger generation who have likely had no interest in BlackBerry.
Android, on the other hand, is speaking their language. And although many younger people have never had the desire to use a BlackBerry device, they’ve probably at least heard of it. Putting the two together could work out rather well for BlackBerry.
Without any official word on what the Venice will actually entail, or if this video is truly what the Venice will end up being, there isn’t much to go off of. But if it turns out that the video is what we end up seeing out of the Venice, I think that the Venice could be one of the most popular BlackBerry devices we’ve seen in a while. The Passport did a good job of getting BlackBerry some attention, but I think there’s more novelty involved with a BlackBerry device running on Android. As long as the UI isn’t atrocious, the specs are decent, and the price isn’t absurd, then the uniquely designed Venice could breathe some much needed life back into the mobile king of yesteryear.