More Pics of Android-Powered BlackBerry Leak (QWERTY and All)

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Rumors of BlackBerry working on an Android-powered handset have been swirling for months. And now, the Web is abuzz with all new images claiming to show the device in action.

Vietnam-based user Ba Minh Duc posted to his Facebook page a device he claims is a BlackBerry, codenamed Venice, running Google’s Android platform. The smartphone sports BlackBerry’s logo and the company’s familiar QWERTY physical keyboard.


477201-blackberry-android-phone[1]Vietnam-based news outlet Tinhte showed even more of the leaker’s photos on its site, including the device’s rough backplate, which is seemingly designed to make it easier to hold. Another photo reveals a slide-out keyboard that bulks up the handset compared to its virtual keyboard-based alternatives.

If the photos are real and BlackBerry finally launches an Android-based handset in the future, it would represent a significant moment for the company. BlackBerry’s once-prominent business was built on the popularity of its hardware and software. Indeed, for years before the iPhone launched in 2007, BlackBerry devices were known as a “crackberry.”

But as the market changed and customers sought touch-based devices, BlackBerry was slow to react. The company’s much-anticipated touch-friendly mobile operating system BlackBerry 10 took excruciatingly long to launch, and now the company owns just a sliver of the mobile market.

While BlackBerry hasn’t ignored market realities—the company has brought its messaging application BBMiOS, Android, and Windows Phone, and supports Amazon’s Android-based Appstore on its devices—the company continues to believe that it can be successful in smartphones by combining its physical keyboard with touch displays. The company’s latest handsets, theBlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Passport, offer both.

The Venice, however, would be the first from BlackBerry to run on Android. Like Apple, which controls all aspects of its smartphone experience by offering its own operating system, BlackBerry has stubbornly stuck to software and hardware development. Venice would buck that trend.

Regardless, at least for now, BlackBerry is saying that it isn’t looking to change its strategy in mobile. Earlier this month, after smartphone-leaker Evan Blass posted a photo and video of Venice on his Twitter account @evleaks, BlackBerry told CNBC that it is “committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system,” adding that it believes its platform “provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched.”

Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2490383,00.asp

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