After years of lagging behind the competition, BlackBerry might have a new solution to staying relevant: launching an Android phone. The ailing handset maker is reportedly working on a device that will run Google's mobile software and feature both a touchscreen and physical keyboard.
According to Reuters, the upcoming Android-based BlackBerry phone will be a "slider device" that features a pull-out keyboard. This new smartphone could retain some of the signature apps and features of the BlackBerry 10 operating system, as BlackBerry previously announced plans to bring its security and enterprise features to non-BlackBerry handsets at MWC 2015.
One of BlackBerry's more recent releases is the BlackBerry Classic, a throwback device that we praised for its excellent keyboard but shunned for its limited app support. Switching to Android could solve that very problem, as power users can utilize both the company's signature physical keyboard while having access to Google's far more robust app ecosystem.
The company also recently launched the Leap, a $275 full-touch smartphone built to deliver robust security features and extra-long battery. Like the Classic, however, the Leap's app selection is limited to the BlackBerry World and Amazon Appstore marketplaces.
There's no word if an Android-based BlackBerry will be a one-off, or if the software will come standard on all future BlackBerry devices. As Reuters points out, the once-dominant smartphone company now holds less than 1 percent of the market, due to the popularity of the iPhone and the myriad of Android devices in the wild.
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