BlackBerry Ltd Hints At Ditching BB 10 In Favor Of Android

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BlackBerry might soon give up making devices running on its BB10 OS and switch to Google’s Android OS fully. The Canadian firm’s hardware business is going pathetically, and such a move could help revive it, which generates the majority of its global revenue.

Android is the future

On Thursday, BlackBerry hosted an event to launch its first Android-based phone, the Priv, in India and indicated the change there only. BlackBerry, which is going through a turnaround, is making a transition from being a smartphone maker to largely an enterprise solutions provider. The company has designed the Priv with security at the core, in-line with its promises of keeping customers’ data private.

Speaking to ET, Damian Tay, senior director of APAC product management at BlackBerry, said, “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 [for smartphones].”

Tay added that for now, the company has both BB10 and Android platforms for its smartphones. Explaining the move, Tay said the future is really Android, and its app ecosystem is the primary reason company went for it.

“In addition, 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,” the executive said.

BlackBerry to shift governments to Android?

BlackBerry plans to continue selling BB10 smartphones such as the Classic and Passport and claims these devices are more secure than the Android ones. BB10-powered smartphones are still the most preferred devices of many governments, said Tay. And this is the prime reason why the Canadian firm will continue producing and supporting these smartphones.

Tay added that if the company stops selling BB10 devices, then the governments relying on them would be in a fix. The company plans of developing new Android devices in the future with which it could transform these governments and authorities.

“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.

For the three months ended Nov. 28, the company’s global hardware revenue saw a decline of 40.7% on a year over year basis to $214 million. In the third quarter of fiscal 2016, hardware accounted for a 39.1% share of the company’s revenue.

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