Is BlackBerry Planning To Launch An Android Phone?

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New devices could feature Google’s mobile software in a bid to win more customers, according to a report

BlackBerry could be set for a remarkable partnership with Google as part of a campaign to get its smartphones across to more customers.

Reuters reports BlackBerry is planning to package Android on some of its upcoming smartphones, marking a significant change in strategy for the Canadian firm.

Cross-platform

Google, Android © Lyao Shutterstock 2012“We don’t comment on rumours and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched,” a BlackBerry spokesperson is quoted as saying

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment to the agency.

In the past, BlackBerry has equipped all its devices with its own-brand BB OS, the most recent edition of which, BB10, was released back in 2013.

Earlier this year, the company also launched BES12, a device management system which gives companies the ability to manage not just BlackBerry phones but also Android, iOS and Windows devices on their internal networks.

Moving to Android would ensure a much bigger potential customer base, as recent Kantar Worldpanel figures showed Google’s OS with over two-thirds of the European mobile market, whereas BlackBerry came in with just under one percent of the total share.

Such a move would also give the company more access to app developers, with developers eschewing BlackBerry’s platforms for Android and iOS. BlackBerry 10 does have access to Android apps on the Amazon Appstore, but the number of native apps falls short compared to competing platforms.

Earlier this year, BlackBerry seized on recent high-profile declarations of support for net neutrality to claim that it was being unfairly discriminated against by many app developers.

CEO John Chen declared the current market situation had led to the creation of a “two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem” which meant that Android and iPhone users have more access to content and applications than users of mobile devices running other operating systems.

Coming soon?

Several recent reports have indicated that BlackBerry is set to release a range of new mobile devices soon, one of which could be the first to feature the rumoured Android tie-up.

Three new devices, including the BlackBerry Oslo and a further tie-up with luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche, were supposedly leaked back in April.

The company’s most recent launch was the BlackBerry Leap, an affordable, full touchscreen phone targeted at privacy-conscious consumers and businesses, which went on sale in the UK a few months ago.

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