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BlackBerry apparently poised to launch an Android smartphone

BlackBerry has said that it’s committed to the smartphone market, but folks are now questioning exactly how committed the company is to BlackBerry OS.

That’s mainly because sources who spoke to Reuters (apparently four of them – an unusually high amount of insiders spilling the beans in this case) said that BlackBerry is considering making a phone based on Google’s Android operating system. It will likely be a slider phone with both a touchscreen and a physical keyboard.

BlackBerry has already leveraged compatibility with Android apps to help boost the popularity of its own mobile operating system, but this is the first time that the firm has moved to actually use the Android OS on a handset.

Despite its commitment to continuing producing smartphones – despite an ever dwindling market share for the devices – as the sources point out, it is clear enough that BlackBerry is shifting to focus on the software and device management arenas rather than hardware.

Does this mean BlackBerry 10 handsets will soon be a thing of the past? That could well be the case, although in a comment provided to Reuters, BlackBerry said it would still be pushing forward with its own OS.

The email statement read: "We don't comment on rumours and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched."

Of course, they can still provide security benefits to an Android phone, and BES12, the device management service, is cross-platform and can be used with Google’s OS, as well as Windows Phone and iOS.

Indeed the Android handset launch could be wrapped up with BES12, and be intended to show that the latter can handle security with an Android device, with a view to further selling the system to businesses who still aren’t convinced of its cross-platform capabilities.

The latest version of BES12 also integrates its admin side with in-house monitoring solutions.

As for the handset itself, the targeted launch date for the Android-based slider phone is autumn 2015.

BlackBerry is making further moves on the security front with its CHACE initiative, which aims to develop security tools with a proactive approach to vulnerability patching, to help secure devices in the Internet of Things age.

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