BlackBerry is expected to launch its first Android smartphone this year. While the company hasn’t officially introduced the device yet, it’s reportedly code-named “Venice,” and we’ve seen a bunch of pictures already.
Now Android Authority has a series of new images, and they give us the best look at the phone’s software to date.
As expected, the phone has a large touchscreen display and a slide-out keyboard with physical keys. At first glance, the BlackBerry Venice seems to be running a stock version of Google Android Lollipop, but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that BlackBerry has added a number of custom features.
First up, the phone comes with BlackBerry Messenger, contacts, email, and other apps. Second, there’s an option to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up not only a Google Now icon, but also shortcuts for device search and email apps.
There are also a series of home screen shortcut and widget options that give you quick access to BlackBerry features.
BlackBerry also appears to have developed a custom version of Android’s Recents view. Instead of showing recent apps and websites in a card-style view that you can flip through, the BlackBerry Venice uses a series of tiles to display apps. Frequently used apps will have larger preview tiles, while apps you use less frequently will be smaller.
Android Authority says the phone’s expected to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor and an 18MP camera. It could be officially introduced in November.
You can find more images at Android Authority.
Not sure how I feel about the changes to the app switcher. On the one hand it’s still mostly stock Android which is great, on the other it is a change so might slow down OTA update releases in future. As for actual use that remains to be seen. I think unless the nexus 5 and 6 turn out to be really fantastic I’ll pick up this phone or the passport with android.
I would like to play with this phone however I don’t like using my wife’s Samsung Galaxy phone. for one the phone feels cheap, not the fault of Android but the OS isn’t as good as BB 10.3 by a long shot. I get that BlackBerry has made a solid effort to sell BB10 handsets and the market hasn’t reacted positively. I personally use a Passport. I’ve used it since early March and love it. It’s been dropped several times and doesn’t have so much as a scratch. The battery lasts forever and the screen is really nice. The Passport is my third BB10 phone and probably my 10th BlackBerry phone. I will continue to use BB10 as long as it’s around. I hope this is more an attempt to get people using BlackBerry again to try and get them to migrate to BB10. I hope it’s a big hit but I think I will stick with my Passport for another year or so.
It’s too bad BlackBerry had to sell out to Android for their survival because the BB10.3.2 OS is light years better user experience than Android. I have used both extensively (as well as webOS) and when using Android, it’s just so unintuitive, cumbersome and embarrassing. I always return to BlackBerry. I know there are not as many apps for BlackBerry but I don’t care. For what I use it for it’s perfect. I think this is the end of BB OS 10 just like webOS though. I’m sad because there isn’t an existing ecosystem that I’ll support if indeed BB 10 dies. You’ll never catch me on iOS or Windows. Though this slider is yet to be released, if I can’t load BB 10 on it, I’ll never buy one.
Although I agree with you to some extent I must warn you, you are going to hear it in this forum. I have given my fair share to BlackBerry here and people talk without having using the device. I see BB10 as a true form of Unix (not that flimsy Linux wannabe Android). Gotta love BB10. However, I doubt the move will mark the end of BB10. I will keep supporting BB if it keeps alive BB10 which I think they will..But I agree with you, light years better experience than Android.
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