BlackBerry Lets BB10 Rot On The Vine, Will Become Android-Exclusive In 2016

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We can’t say that we didn’t see this one coming. BlackBerry has been circling the drain for quite some time, and its Blackberry 10 (BB10) operating system — which was supposed to be its savior in the face of immense pressure from iOS and Android — has proven to be anything but. That became even more clear when BlackBerry announced its flagship Priv smartphone last year, which just so happens to run the Android operating system.

In an interview conducted during CES, BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed that it will no longer develop smartphones running on its own BB10 operating system. Instead, like the Priv, it will concentrate on using Android with its own security software and enhancements baked in to cater to its enterprise customers.

BlackBerry PRIV Open and Closed

BlackBerry intends to release at least one new smartphone (possibly two) during 2016 and they will run Android (likely Marshmallow). This is good news for Android fans that want a little more variety in the types of smartphones available (this is definitely the case with the Priv, which features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard), but is definitely a blow to diehard BlackBerry fans that have stuck by the company’s side as it transitioned its smartphones to the QNX-based BB10 operating system.

Moving on to the sales performance of the Priv, Chen says that the numbers have been “so far, so good” and that he is taking a “cautiously optimistic view.” The Priv, which launched as an AT&T exclusive, will soon be available on Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile. T-Mobile CEO John Legere confirmed that the phone will be available on his network January 26th.

BlackBerry is hoping that expanding to additional carriers will help further bolster sales, and Chen is “confident in profitability this year.” However, should sales not meet expectations and its already razor thin share of the smartphone markets diminishes even further, BlackBerry is fully prepared to jettison its smartphone division.