Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reports that BlackBerry is considering launching a new device running Android. What has been an open secret (you just needed to have a look the recent OS market share reports) is now official: If the Canadian smartphone manufacturer launches an Android device, it would be equivalent to admitting defeat, and a step toward the end of BlackBerry as an operating system.
What was once a competitor now seems to be BlackBerry’s “best friend” in the company’s effort to shift focus from smartphone manufacturing to software and device management. Fact is, we’ve heard plenty of times from BlackBerry CEO Jack Chen that this is where the company excels, and the recent quarterly earnings corroborate that: Blackberry posted a surprise quarterly profit in March, making it obvious that the company’s financial viability is no longer in question.
Two sources speaking with Reuters have said that a BlackBerry device running Android could send a strong message to the market that the Canadian company is confident that its BES12 device management system is able to do much more than that: It can secure smartphones and tablets powered by rival operating systems.
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.
As the company seeks to end the revenue slide, it has cut into its hardware headcount: At its peak, Blackberry employed 17,500 people, but that number has now dropped to 6,225 and it continue to do so. So, maybe it’s time for concept videos of iOS running on a BlackBerry as a future request?