Late last week a report surfaced suggesting that BlackBerry might load one of its new phones with Android. The company isn’t going to entirely switch to Google’s platform and has already said that it’s dedicated to BlackBerry 10, but that had me thinking: What if BlackBerry really does launch an Android-powered smartphone? I’d be all in, and I’d probably buy one right now.
First, and I know I’m in a small percentage of people, but I still really do appreciate hardware keyboards. Options such as SwiftKey and other third party swipe-based alternatives have really improved the typing experience on touchscreens, but there’s something I still like about more tactile options. Maybe it’s just that I’m used to using a hardware keyboard for writing posts all day long so, when I’m on a phone, I wish I had a similar experience for longer emails and the like.
It’s not just the keyboard. We can’t forget that BlackBerry can make really solid devices. The BlackBerry Passport might have had a bizarre square design, but it was rock solid. Give me something similar to that, but with a slightly more traditional industrial design, and I’m all over it.
I also know that you can already run Android apps on BlackBerry smartphones, but the ones that require Google Play Services, such as Hangouts, Google Play Music and others, don’t always work properly. I suppose that’s one of my caveats: whatever smartphone BlackBerry does launch, if it really has an Android device in the pipes, needs to have access to Google Play Services to attract me. I’d still want it to include some of BlackBerry’s custom software, however.
BlackBerry Blend is awesome, for example. I love being able to manage my phone, emails, messages and more all from a secure environment on my tablet or PC. I assume BlackBerry would carry this feature over to an Android smartphone, and it’s one that I’d appreciate. I’m sure there are other third party apps that provide a similar experience for Android smartphones —Push Bullet at least has the notifications down — but BlackBerry’s gives me the piece of mind of security, too.
Maybe it won’t ever happen. That’s possible. Or BlackBerry might launch an Android smartphone, but target the low-end emerging markets segment with it, which won’t be as attractive to me. I want a full-fledged BlackBerry flagship smartphone with Android. A great camera, wireless charging, Android M (or I’d take Lollipop, too), NFC for mobile payments, BlackBerry Blend, Google Play Services and a high-res display would all be necessities for me.
If BlackBerry actually does this, I’d certainly be in line to buy one.