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article imageReport: BlackBerry phones of the future may run Android

By James Walker     Jun 12, 2015 in Technology
BlackBerry may be considering a switch to making Android-powered phones as part of its plan to rescue itself from the declining market share and sales that its own BlackBerry 10 phones are faced with, according to a new report.
The information comes from Reuters who spoke with four unnamed sources "familiar with the matter." They asked not to be named because BlackBerry has forbidden public discussion of the plans.
The move would see an upcoming BlackBerry phone launched with Google's Android operating system for the first time, a traditional rival to the company's own BlackBerry 10 operating system. BlackBerry has failed to resurrect itself from the declining sales figures of recent years however and now commands just a 1 percent share of the smartphone market, significantly behind Microsoft's Windows Phone and almost incomparable with that of Google's Android and Apple's iOS.
Two sources told Reuters that Android will be used on an upcoming BlackBerry phone this autumn. It will feature a large touch screen — typical of Android devices but not so of BlackBerry — but will utilise a slider design to include a physical keyboard too, something unique for the crowded Android ecosystem.
The aim is to carve out a corner for itself in a currently unexplored form factor of Android phone, while attempting to retain those who still use its classic QWERTY-keyboard devices for which the brand became famous. In recent years, even its typical business executive audience has switched to rival brands, typically iOS or Windows Phone, where better management and control features make them more viable company devices.
A move to Android would also solve another of BlackBerry's major issues: apps. BlackBerry 10 still has a conspicuous absence of high-quality third-party apps but access to the vast contents of the Google Play Store would instantly remedy this. Microsoft has tried a similar thing with Windows 10 Mobile, making it easy for iOS and Android app developers to bring their products over to Windows, but BlackBerry has no such easy porting solution available.
Reuters says "it is not clear" whether existing BlackBerry 10 devices would survive if the company does move to Android. BlackBerry told Reuters in an email "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."
More about Blackberry, Android, Phone, Smartphone, blackberry 10
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