After launching Priv, its first Android-powered smartphone, BlackBerry revealed that all of the smartphones it releases in 2016 will also use Google’s platform. In fact, the Canadian company sees Android as “the future,” all but confirming the death of BB10.
BlackBerry certainly won’t admit BB10 is dead yet, and it can’t — it still has BB10 devices it needs to sell and support. But it has confirmed that existing BB10 users can only expect minor software updates for the foreseeable future as it focuses its efforts on Android instead.
Now Damian Tay, senior director of APAC product management, has hammered yet another nail into BB10’s coffin. During an interview with The Economic Times, Tay confirmed Priv is part of its transition to the Android platform.
“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],” said Tay.
“But for now, we have BB10 and Android platforms for our smartphones… The future is really Android. We went for Android essentially for its app ecosystem. In addition, all the enterprise solutions that we have been doing have been cross-platform for a long time now.”
Tay concluded, “it’s a natural progression towards Android.”
If this doesn’t confirm to long-time BlackBerry fans that the Canadian company’s focus is Android — and that BB10 is on its last legs — I don’t know what will. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; fans should be excited by this.
The Priv is a terrific smartphone, marrying BlackBerry’s impressive build quality and best-in-class physical keyboard with the most popular mobile OS on the planet. It is by far the best smartphone the company has rolled out in years.
It will certainly be a shame to see BB10 die, because it launched with a lot of promise back in 2013. But without apps, it’s never going to be able to compete, and BlackBerry can’t afford to waste any more resources on it.
If transitioning to Android saves BlackBerry’s hardware business, then that can only be a good thing, right?