Blackberry has decided to ditch its home-grown Mobile Operating System (OS). Any smartphone the company will launch in 2016 will feature Android as the core OS, confirmed the company’s CEO.
Blackberry, the company that chose to name itself after its smartphones which featured the company’s in-house developed OS, has announced that it is going all-in, as far as the choice of OS is concerned. Blackberry has confirmed that 2016 will be an all-Android year for the company’s newest phones. While there is no confirmation about how many phones the company will launch in the current calendar year, all the new releases in 2016 will run entirely on Android, reported GSM Arena.
Blackberry’s CEO John Chen attested to the change, saying that the older BlackBerry OS is not going to be used in any of the new phones it has planned for the 2016 calendar year, reported CNET reporting from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The company hasn’t revealed why it is choosing to ditch the Blackberry OS. But, there have been multiple indicators from the consumers, as well as the developers, which might have forced Blackberry to go with the popular OS instead of risking putting out more products with their own OS.
The company did manage to create interest in the smartphones it makes after it launched BlackBerry Priv. The latest flagship smartphone from Blackberry is also the company’s first to run on the Android operating system. All previous smartphones made by the company featured various iterations of the home-grown Blackberry OS. Interestingly, the company has been enhancing support for Android’s app ecosystem on its smartphones, but BlackBerry Priv is the first smartphone from the company’s stables that reversed the order. Priv runs on Android and accepts Android apps, while being compatible with Blackberry’s numerous software platforms.
Blackberry chose to offer the Priv through a very limited number of carriers. In the U.S., the Priv was available only through AT&T, leaving subscribers of Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint a little disappointed. Chen confessed the company, “simply didn’t have the resources to do a massive rollout with every carrier.” However, reports indicate the company is now ready to offer Priv through all the major carriers in the U.S. Priced at $699, the Priv will be sold in 31 countries over the next few quarters.
The full switch to Android does make sense, especially if you consider the diminishing appeal and support for the Blackberry OS platform. An increasing number of software companies and app developers have been steadily ignoring the Blackberry platform and heading over to the increasingly popular Android or iOS ecosystems. From a software perspective, Blackberry’s market share has dwindled into the single digits over the last few years, reports Android Police.
There’s no denying the fact that the company still enjoys a small, but dedicated fan base for its operating system. It is understandable why the company remained fiercely committed to its in-house operating system for the better part of a decade, despite witnessing a rapid migration of its customers to other mobile operating systems. Despite being painfully obvious that Android and iOS have been racing ahead and consumers demand for products running both operating systems have been rising, Blackberry’s previously exclusive dedication to its home-grown OS, however, has been more than a little surprising.
It’s no secret that 2016 could prove to be the make-or-break year for Blackberry. The decision to go with the popular OS could be the company’s way of ensuring it avoids the ignoble fate of former competitors Palm and Nokia. Experts agree that the over-zealous dedication to their own operating systems accelerated the companies’ eventual failure and acquisition.
Interestingly, Chen stopped short of confirming if Blackberry OS is dead and gone for good. The company is committed to get national security certification for BlackBerry 10, which means the smartphones featuring the Blackberry OS can be used in certain government and corporate projects. There’s a good possibility that the OS will live on, but it may not see the pace of consumer development, nor the support, enjoyed by Android and iOS.
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