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Could BlackBerry and Android integration make sense? Ask Lenovo's CEO

Lenovo has been hinting at being interested in BlackBerry. Would integrating or assimilating BlackBerry into Android be any good for the ecosystem?
March 11, 2013
blackberry z10
Lenovo has been hinting at being interested in BlackBerry. Would integrating or assimilating BlackBerry into Android be any good for the ecosystem?

Lenovo is more popular for its line of desktop and notebook computers, although the company actually has a respectable smartphone business in its home country of China. But with news that BlackBerry might be up for grabs, Lenovo has reportedly been one of the parties potentially interested in acquiring or partnering with the Canadian company for its mobile business.

We earlier reported on this in January, shortly before BlackBerry’s announcement of its renaming of its corporate entity from RIM into BlackBerry. That time, it was Lenovo’s Chief Financial Officer who was quoted as saying the company was looking for right opportunities for acquisition or licensing. Lenovo issued a statement shortly thereafter, saying its executive may have been misquoted, and that the company was seeking opportunities in a generic sense.

Does it make sense?

Just recently, another Lenovo executive spoke about the possibility of dealing with BlackBerry. Its Chief Executive Officer, Yang Yuangquing, was cited by French-lanugage Les Echos to say that a deal could make sense. “As for BlackBerry, the file could possibly make sense. But first I have to analyze the market well and understand what is the exact weight of this company,” says Yang’s statement (translated via Google).

Of course, we cannot take these statements at face value, because they’re speculative, after all. Even if they were from the company’s CEO, this is not necessarily Lenovo’s official stance. But what’s important to consider here is that Lenovo seems to be having BlackBerry in its sights. So whether or not they’re actually actively pursuing a deal with the Canadian company, they still consider the brand to be valuable, even amid BlackBerry’s decline in the mobile market.

What could this mean for mobile consumers, then? Perhaps it may not be too relevant to those interested in the mobile market as consumers. But considering both Lenovo and BlackBerry consider the enterprise market a key driver of their respective businesses, then there might be a possible synergy here. We earlier mentioned a few reasons why Lenovo might be interested enough to hint at a licensing or acquisition deal, and a focus on this particular segment of the market might be the answer.

Android + BlackBerry = ?

Still, for the consumer market, it might be interesting if Lenovo were to somehow integrate BlackBerry into its own Android offerings. How about talking to BBM friends on Android, or even paying through the recently-launched BBM Money?

In the end, it boils down to how relevant BlackBerry still is in the mobile ecosystem, and whether BlackBerry can slug it out with today’s dominant players for long. The platform is obviously no longer as strong as it was before, declining to only 4% or so of the global smartphone market. Integrating with Lenovo might mean integrating its core services with Lenovo’s own Android offerings. Imagine assimilating BlackBerry services into Android devices (such as enterprise server or BBM). Could that be a good thing for the Android ecosystem?