BlackBerry has today announced that it's making its Hub software available for all Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or newer. The Hub, which combines email, messaging, social networking, and other accounts together in one dashboard, was previously only available on BlackBerry's own Android and BlackBerry 10 devices, such as the Priv or the newly released DTEK50.
The BlackBerry Hub+, as it will be known in Google's Play Store, will be available to use for free for 30 days. After that, users can opt to see occasional ads or pay a $0.99 per month subscription for an ad-free experience. The free app includes the Hub itself, BlackBerry Calendar, and a password manager. Those that pay for the subscription will also get access to BlackBerry's Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes, and Launcher. The company says this is just the first software service from its new Mobility Solutions Group and that more are in the works. BlackBerry also says that it is working to make the Hub+ available for Android Lollipop devices, as well. The Hub and all of its related features and services will remain included at no extra charge on BlackBerry's own device.
This subscription-based software approach is just the latest step in BlackBerry's transition from relying on hardware device sales to becoming more of a software and service company. While the bulk of BlackBerry's business remains in providing enterprises and governments with secure device-management services, a consumer-accessible app service such as the Hub could provide it with an additional revenue stream, provided it's able to attract productivity-minded consumers.
The trial version of the Hub is expected to be available in the Google Play Store starting today.