It’s admittedly hard to keep a serious and credible face when one of your own broke ranks to basically negate what you officially said earlier. That might be the sentiment that BlackBerry is going through right now when its senior director for APAC product management Damian Tay mentioned the company’s eventual transition to an Android-only platform. Although it already said so last month, BlackBerry feels the need to emphasize again its commitment to its own BlackBerry 10 OS, at least for the near future.
Given the popularity, and probably decent sales, of the Android-powered BlackBerry PRIV, there has been speculation that it has convinced the Canadian company to fully switch to Android for its future smartphones. Indeed, that seems to be the sentiment that Tay hinted at when he called Android “the future”. On its official blog, BlackBerry reiterates that the BB10 platform also has a future as well.
Despite the dearth of native apps (since running Android apps are somewhat supported) on BB10, the OS does have some advantages over Android, at least for BlackBerry’s core business and enterprise customers. BB10, which is based on the same real-time OS (RTOS) QNX that is used on many car infotainment systems, was designed from the ground up to take security and privacy seriously, exactly because of its target audience. While those considerations were, of course, present in Android since its inception, recent events show that is hardly the case.
BlackBerry has laid out its plans for BB10 for rest of 2016, which mostly involves rolling out security updates and patches. Curiously, there is not even a single hint of any big or exciting new features planned for it. While BlackBerry might be cautious about drumming up too much hype, such a teaser could at least ward off the image that BB10 is just in maintenance mode this year.
That said, even Tay admits that a switch to Android isn’t going to come quickly. It has yet to meet BlackBerry’s standards for security and privacy, which could still be a long time coming. All we can be sure of for now is that BlackBerry is committed to both BlackBerry 10 and Android in 2016. How long it will be able to keep juggling those two balls is another question entirely.