We've expected for a month or so that BlackBerry is working on an Android phone with a "dual curved display" that slides up to reveal a physical keyboard underneath. It is supposedly based on a device that was originally announced at Mobile World Congress back in March, and back then the best image we had to go off of was a low-resolution snapshot of the device being held up on stage. Now, Evan Blass (aka @evleaks) has posted a high-resolution render of the device, codenamed Venice, to Twitter.
The BlackBerry Android Phone high-resolution image (top) and a BlackBerry phone with slider keyboard (bottom) (Click Images To Enlarge
It reveals the aforementioned display, curved at the sides like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. There's a speaker at the bottom, and if you look closely at the last photo you can see that the basic design mostly matches up. It looks as though BlackBerry has chosen to excise dedicated Send and End keys — presumably because the device is now going to run Android instead of BlackBerry 10. It also seem possible that there's still a keyboard scurried away underneath that screen. The one other notable thing about Blass' image is that it has Google app icons strewn about — which should mean that it has full access to Google's suite of apps and services. Blass also claims that the Venice will be coming to AT&T.
Last month, Reuters originally reported that BlackBerry would make the switch to Android. If this render proves accurate (and Blass has a long history of posting accurate leaks), it might well be coming soon. It's been a very long time since there's been a decent Android device with a physical keyboard and an even longer time since there's been a vertical sliding phone with a physical keyboard. If BlackBerry pulls this off and actually releases something good, a lot of old Palm Pre fans are going to be pretty happy.
A leaked render of BlackBerry's upcoming "Venice" slider phone shows the device running Lollipop, instead of BlackBerry's own BlackBerry 10 OS. There have been rumors that BlackBerry was working on an Android powered device, but until now we had no idea just how that would look. One of the most notable things about the render that surfaced is the apparent inclusion of Google Apps on the device. This would mean that BlackBerry worked with Google to have the device pass Google's Compatibility Test Suite, instead of just forking an Android version that didn't include the services.
Specs for the alleged "Venice" popped up on N4BB a couple of weeks ago, calling it a slider with a 5.4-inch screen, 18MP rear camera and 1.8GHz Hexa-core CPU. According to Blass, the Venice will run Android, and is coming to AT&T first.
COMMENTARY: This unconfirmed move to Android not only signifies BlackBerry’s disappointment with its own operating system but also a new focus for the company, which now wants to “focus on software and device management.” BlackBerry’s BES12 enterprise device management software works with all devices, and a first party Android handset would be a good way to show some of those capabilities.
When contacted for comment by Reuters, the company said it wouldn’t comment on rumors, and that it stood behind its own BlackBerry 10 operating system “which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched.”
With a barely discernable market share across the world, there’s little that BlackBerry could do to make its situation worse, and this possible bet on Android might just pay off.
This BlackBerry android phone is just a rumor since BlackBerry has refused to confirm or even comment on such a move. Unfortunately, if true this switch over to Android comes about three years t00 late. In a previous blog post January 23, 2012, I strongly recommended that BlackBerry come out with an Android phone in order to stop the hemorrage of customers abandoning BlackBerry for iOS and Android phone makers like Apple and Samsung. At that time Android had over 300,000 apps. That number is now well over 1 million, with Apple about the same.
Courtesy of an article dated July 3, 2015 appearing in The Verge, an article dated June 12, 2015 appearing in Neowin, an article dated June 11, 2015 appearing in AndroidCentral, and an article dated May 6, 2015 appearing in MacRumors