The word on BlackBerry releasing Android-based smartphones has really begun to snowball.
We first heard the rumor after Mobile World Congress 2015 and quietly announced it back in April during a podcast. Reuters then followed up with its own exclusive report claiming BlackBerry would be releasing Android-based smartphones.
We then heard even further that BlackBerry planned a low-end Android-based smartphone codenamed “Prague.” Now, DigiTimes sources are corroborating the same story.
“While running on Android OS, the new BlackBerry smartphones will also integrate some software functions of BlackBerry OS and application services such as BES12, BBM and BlackBerry Blend,” claims DigiTimes’ sources.
BlackBerry will apparently roll out multiple models of Android-based smartphones in the second half of 2015, with Taiwan-based handset ODMs, including Foxconn Electronics, Compal Electronics and Wistron serving as production partners.
“The roll-out of Android-based BlackBerry phones is unlikely to result in losses at BlackBerry since these Taiwan-based ODMs will be responsible for R&D, marketing and channel distribution expenses,” indicated DigiTimes’ sources.
The idea for expanding to Android-based smartphones is apparently due to BlackBerry still enjoying a high brand image in a number of markets. DigiTimes’ sources claim, “BlackBerry-ODM partnerships might be able to ramp up overall shipments of BlackBerry phones and therefore boosting the value of BlackBerry’s hardware business unit.”