The recently-announced BlackBerry DTEK50 smartphone is an Alcatel Idol 4 in everything but the name and the software that BlackBerry added on top of the Android Marshmallow it runs on. That same software which comprises of several BlackBerry apps like the BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, Password Keeper, Notes, Tasks, Contacts, Launcher and Device Search, was also one of the key selling points of BlackBerry’s first Android smartphone, the PRIV.
Going forward you won’t need to own either the DTEK50 or the PRIV in order to use such apps. BlackBerry has made all of them available on the Google Play Store to everyone for free*.
Under the BlackBerry Hub+ suite, BlackBerry has opened up its software to every Android device running on at least Android 6.0 Marshmallow. After a month of use, one will have to either opt to part with $1 every other month or continue using the BlackBerry app suite for free but with ads. BlackBerry says that it is still working on making the apps accessible to users of devices running Android Lollipop which makes sense since there’s only a handful of Android 6.0 users at the moment. While not available to iOS users at the moment, the BlackBerry Hub+ suite may soon show up on Apple’s mobile platform.
A few years ago, who would’ve thought this day would come? First BBM became a cross-platform messenger then the company did the previously unimaginable, released an Android smartphone, then went again and released another. And now this! BlackBerry seems excited at the prospect of some of its most core software possibly being used by over a billion users if the tone on the blog post announcing this is anything to go by. And why wouldn’t it? This could be one of the few remaining things it could do to turn things around since hardware doesn’t seem to stick – refer to those flat PRIV sales.
With this happening, why would anyone still need to buy a BlackBerry device again?