BlackBerry is thinking about using Android for an upcoming smartphone, according to a report from Reuters. The potential move is said to be part of a pivot to focus on software and device management rather than owning the operating system from top to bottom. That may well make sense for BlackBerry — after several delays to its BlackBerry 10 OS and an unspectacular launch in early 2013, the storied Canadian company now has under 1 percent of the smartphone market.
According to the report, the sliding phone briefly shown off at Mobile World Congress (above) is likely to use Google's OS, meaning that BlackBerry would at least be contributing an unorthodox form factor to the Android ecosystem. "We don't comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched," the company said in a statement to Reuters.
While the move would be somewhat surprising, BlackBerry has flirted with Android in the past. BlackBerry 10 relies on emulated Android apps for much of its library, the BBM Messenger app was eventually released on iOS and Android, and BlackBerry has integrated its security technology into the Knox software on Samsung's Android phones. Releasing a full-fledged Android phone could boost BlackBerry's enterprise credentials by proving that its security and device management software can work on other, more popular platforms.