BlackBerry Acknowledges That ‘The Future Is Really Android’ For Its Smartphone Ambitions

Give BlackBerry credit, the company put forth the good old college effort and tried anything it could think of to regain relevance in the mobile world—changing its name from Research In Motion (RIM), dissing the iPhone, shaking up top-level management, launching new handsets—all to no avail. In a last ditch effort, BlackBerry earlier this month suggested it was going all-in with Android, a notion the company reinforced during its recent Priv launch in India.

"The Priv device is essentially our transition to Android ecosystem. As we secure Android, over a period of time, we would not have two platforms and may have only Android as a platform." But for now, we have BB10 and Android platforms for our smartphones," BlackBerry's Damian Tay told The Economic Times.

BlackBerry Priv

Tay went on to explain in no uncertain terms that "the future is really Android." Coming as no big surprise, BlackBerry was drawn to Android in big part by its vast app ecosystem. It's something that's been on BlackBerry's radar for quite some time.

"All the enterprise solutions that we have been doing have been cross-platform for a long time now. So it's a natural progression towards Android," Tay added.

This is what it's come down to for BlackBerry. It's not exactly a Hail Mary in the football sense, but certainly the Canadian handset maker is running out of options. Transitioning to Android allows BlackBerry to stop worrying about growing its own software platform and focus more on hardware and ways to beef up security in Android.

The challenge that lies ahead is in convincing government agencies that rely on BlackBerry's security and enterprise features to follow the company over to Android.

"Essentially, there is a transition which is happening, wherein the company is looking to get certifications and clearances from these governments for the Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone," Tay said.

Along with expanding to additional carriers to help bolster sales, BlackBerry is confident that its switch to Android is a key step towards being profitable this year.

Update February 3, 2016

After reading this article, a BlackBerry spokesperson emailed us to say that the company "no doubt" remains committed to BlackBerry 10. The notion was also reiterated in a recent BlackBerry blog post that reads:

"As we’ve said before, consumer and enterprise fans of our workhorse BlackBerry 10 smartphones such as Passport, Classic and others can look forward to multiple security and privacy enhancements in 2016."

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