Blackberry to Partner With Samsung for its First Android Smartphone?


John Chen Blackberry 3

While its executives are quick to say that Blackberry’s death has been greatly exaggerated, there is no lying that the onetime king of the smartphone market boasting over 80% marketshare is slipping away. Blackberry’s marketshare currently is not even in the single digits anymore, it’s below that! New Blackberry devices that were expected to mark the company’s revival in the smartphone market have failed to take off.

The huge Blackberry Passport that was meant to be different and appeal to the business types has failed to do so. The Blackberry Classic that was meant to evoke emotions amongst Blackberry superfans and everyone who loved the legendary keyboards Blackberry devices are famed for is also struggling. The company’s latest device, the Leap, targeted at the young, isn’t expected to fair any better either. That Oslo we keep hearing about? We don’t expect much of it either. It’s tough for Waterloo to engineer a comeback in the mobile world on their own. Eeer, unless they go the Android way.

After word went round last week that the company is mulling an Android smartphone with a slide-out keyboard (because it’s the year 2009 all over again), there has been excitement, disappointment and shock as well. Excitement from those who wish the company well and believe the release of Android smartphones could give it a lifeline as a natural death if it continues marching on its own seems likely. Disappointment from the diehard Blackberry superfans who still believe there is a chance the John Chen-led company will still get out of the woods soon. Shock from the shareholders and everyone else who just don’t know what make of the goings on anymore. Here’s something to further each one of those emotions:

Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin is not know for being the pretty hard-nail biting leaker he once was these days but neither is his past life as an accurate source of leaks lost on us. He’s rarely off on Samsung stuff (he was pretty spot on last time) so his word is worth taking with a pinch of salt, of course.

If things are as Murtazin says then it wouldn’t really be a shock. The two companies have been close for the last few years and Samsung was one of the companies whose name were being floated around as possible buyers of the troubled Canadian company. While both companies denied the existence of such plans, they have collaborated extensively in the last few years to make news of any collaboration on a smartphone not very surprising.

Blackberry allowed Samsung to have exclusive access to its popular BBM application way before everyone else. Blackberry published the BBM application on Samsung’s own application store before finally making it available to everyone else later. Recently, the two have collaborated on the enterprise security software that Samsung bundles on its flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge.

The new Blackberry smartphone, if at all it exists, will be made by Samsung and take the design of the Galaxy S6 Edge but with a slide-out keyboard and with all of Blackberry’s proprietary services on-board. Minus Blackberry OS 10 of course. That will be thrown out in favour of Android. I know that sounds crazy but we have an entire second half of the year to find out what will and will not pan out.


Photo: Digital Trends