BlackBerry may release a smartphone running Android, reports say. The phone would have a physical slider keyboard along with a touch screen.
The move would mark an end to the way BlackBerry has been operating. BlackBerry has always built phones with their own software installed. The company now seems ready to break from that tradition and launch an Android phone of their own, according to a report by Reuters.
“BlackBerry will probably use Android on an upcoming slider device that is likely to be released this autumn, two sources said. The slider will combine a touch screen with a physical keyboard that users can use if they prefer.”
Reuters was informed by several sources close to the matter. BlackBerry and Google declined to say anything about the rumors. When Reuters reached out for comment, the company said they don’t address rumors.
“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched.”
In 2013, BlackBerry tried to modernize with the Z10, the company’s first fully touchscreen smartphone. The Z10 wasn’t able to compete with the already well-established Apple iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android software.
Soon after its initial release, the Z10’s failure was apparent. The company even announced that they had lost $1 billion in just three months. The losses were blamed on the very unsuccessful Z10 smartphone.
The once-popular BlackBerry has lost virtually all of its market share to Apple and Android phones. As Ars Technica points out, BlackBerry now has less than 1 percent of the smartphone market share.
It now appears as though BlackBerry is trying to regain some of its lost smartphone market share. The slider keyboard may attract a niche group of smartphone users. Mainstream smartphone users might not be ready for the return of the physical keyboard.
IBNLive spoke with analysts who think adding Android to their lineup is a good idea for BlackBerry. Speaking to IBNLive Rob Enderle–who runs the technology consulting firm Enderle Group–said the move would be great marketing.
“From the standpoint of marketing, this is a great way for BlackBerry to get visibility. It really doesn’t hurt them much, and the upside is high…”
Other technology analysts agree with Enderle that the move will only help the company. It may not make BlackBerry more popular than iPhone or some Android phones, but it will almost certainly help the company overall.
If the rumors are true, you can expect to see the new smartphone this fall.
[Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images]