BlackBerry released its first (and last) tablet in 2011. The BlackBerry PlayBook had hardware that was virtually identical to the original Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. But it was more than twice the price of Amazon’s tablet and featured a new tablet-friendly version of the BlackBerry operating system instead of an Android-based OS.
Early reviews weren’t exactly stellar, prices dropped quickly, and BlackBerry never released another model.
Now the company isn’t even making its own hardware anymore. Instead, it’s partnered with outside companies to make and sell BlackBerry-branded phones running Android. But one of those partners is said to be thinking about making a new BlackBerry tablet… running Android.
Speaking during the latest company earnings call, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company is getting ready to expand its licensing to include things like tablets and Internet of Things products that would use the BlackBerry brand and use BlackBerry’s security features and other apps and services.
He says one of the company’s partners is “very excited to build a tablet based on Android, and so they wanted us to give them the portfolio rights to do that.”
In other words… no. There will not be a BlackBerry PlayBook 2. But there may eventually be a BlackBerry tablet with Android + BlackBerry software, much like the software you see on phones like the BlackBerry Priv, DTEK60, KeyOne, and Aurora.
Oh, and speaking of the BlackBerry KeyOne, Chen says it’s a little behind schedule. While the new phone with a physical keyboard was originally expected to ship in April, he says it will probably hit the streets in May.