Just scant few weeks ago, the idea of BlackBerry doing anything substantial with Android was still confined to a partnership with Samsung or its BBM app. Things changed when an alleged leak emerged of the so-called “Venice“, an Android slider with – arguably – the same display as the Galaxy S6 Edge. Just hours ago news broke of a partnership with Google. It now seems that Waterloo’s plans might be more pronounced than many might have thought, at least provided a new report is accurate.
Digitimes is claiming that BlackBerry may release several models of Android smartphones in the second half of the year. Several Taiwanese ODM (Original Device Manufacturers) are cited as partners, including “Foxconn Electronics, Compal Electronics and Wistron serving as production partners, according to sources at Taiwan’s handset supply chain.”
The same sources have indicated that, despite the switch to Android, these new devices will include “software functions of BlackBerry OS and application services such as BES12, BBM and BlackBerry Blend.” This will inevitably help those legacy users who are unfamiliar with Android ease their way in as it will serve to provide a type of value-added-service for the Android handsets in an attempt to set them apart from the venerable cornucopia of competition.
As far as costs are involved, the report states that BlackBerry will be handing over “R&D, marketing and channel distribution expenses” thus absolving it from taking on what would otherwise be a rather large financial burden for a company already in critical condition. The move itself is not unlike that which Nokia used when it released an Android tablet earlier this year: the Swedish company’s brand name was licensed, however all other duties were handled locally in Asia.
Provided this information pans out, it would raise the issue of just how much sway BlackBerry would have in the design of the devices, and to an extent, the ability of consumers around the world to inherently trust the security of the products themselves. Could each ODM produce an original device made to their own specifications? Would this serve to help the BlackBerry brand, or could it do just the opposite and damage the very strong image that many attach to it? Just who will produce the BlackBerry Venice – assuming the leak is legitimate – and what of the seemingly Samsung supplied screen? Only time will tell.