BlackBerry did what I and many others thought they would eventually do — They created a phone that runs Android (stock). A picture of the device was leaked by Evan Blass on Twitter. Revealing a very tall smartphone with a thin slide-out keyboard. Slide-out keyboards are not popular in the high-end smartphone market that BlackBerry has been focused on.
Here is a blatantly biased, but somewhat amusing comment Romain Dillet made on it:
‘Meet the FrankenBlackBerry. Is it an Android phone? Is it a BlackBerry? No, it’s the new BlackBerry Android phone! If you ever wondered what would happen if you slapped a BlackBerry keyboard onto an average Android phone, look no further. BlackBerry has this device for you.’
As a long-time user of BlackBerry smartphones, i’ve seen software vendors’ support for BlackBerry devices (or more specifically, their operating system) diminish greatly over the years.
Should BlackBerry Switch To Android?
That depends on how they go about doing it. If they simply start installing stock Android on their devices, my answer would be a resounding NO, as there is already an immense amount of generic competition in the Android smartphone market. In addition to that, BlackBerry needs to stand out in some way, and they could do that by optimizing their new Android devices for security (and privacy, both of which go hand in hand).
In addition to that, stability and performance could be an issue as well. Abandoning their own operating system probably means that BlackBerry phones won’t be as stable as they used to be. They might get more customers, or they might just get lost in the pool of numerous Android phone manufacturers. What made BlackBerry devices great was their operating system. The hardware was good, but their operating system was built with privacy and security in mind, and it was stable. Smartphone stability is one of those things I haven’t seen much of in recent years.