With dwindling sales, poor consumer reception and a lackluster market forecast after the release of the Blackberry 10 product line, the company has recently decided to endow its upcoming devices with the Android operating system in a bid to stay relevant in the smartphone arms race.
It had hoped that its latest lineup would win back market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and Android-powered devices carried by dominant brands. Despite being the pioneer of the smart phone, Blackberry’s market share is currently less that 1%. Sources who asked not to be named said that the move to Android indicates a de-prioritization of hardware concerns as the company shifts to software and device management.
Evan Blass, a known credible source of handset image leaks posted the photos on Twitter. The phone will be launched on AT&T and is presently named Venice.
The phone was showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last March yet few details were given. It appears to have a dual curved display alike the Samsung Galaxy S6. It slides to reveal a QWERTY keyboard underneath in the characteristic style of the Blackberry handset. A horizontal speaker is located at the bottom and there are dedicated Send and End keys, most likely because the device will be running Android instead of the BB10 OS. It also has Google icons around it, highlighting the primary use of Google apps. The lack of Google functionality has been one of the reasons for dwindling customer satisfaction.
With a large touchscreen and a keyboard reminiscent of the previous Blackberry devices made for professionals on the go, Venice may be able to find and carve a niche in Blackberry loyalists who desire features and apps in popular devices yet find pressing on a physical keypad better attuned to their tastes.
However, the company has not given up on the Blackberry 10 OS, and is working on the Blackberry Enterprise Service 12 (BES 12) which allows government and corporate clients to manage multiple platforms such as Android, BB 10, iOS and Windows. This could probably mean that the company is still standing its ground and hopes to keep its own character in the game rather than just being reduced to another smartphone provider.