BlackBerry’s first smartphone running Google Android software could hit the streets in November. Concerned that it won’t feel like a BlackBerry device without BlackBerry OS? Don’t worry: it’ll have one of BlackBerry’s other signature features: a physical keyboard.
The phone is reportedly code-named the BlackBerry Venice, and we’ve been hearing rumors about the phone for a while. Now Evan Blass has posted a series of details about the upcoming phone.
First up, Blass says the Venice will be available in November from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
He followed up that message with an image showing what the phone looks like when you extend the slide-out keyboard from behind the screen (see above).
The phone appears to have a large touchscreen display, a stock Android user interface with on-screen home, back, and recents buttons, and shortcuts for contacts mixed in with app icons. While phones running recent versions of BlackBerry OS can run some Android apps, the Venice should be able to run most Android apps, and comes with the Google Play Store and other Google apps including Chrome and Drive pre-installed.
Want an even closer look at the phone? Blass posted this short video that shows the sides, back, keyboard, and camera (with optical image stabilization):
Eye candy. pic.twitter.com/GtJwOfOus8
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 19, 2015
BlackBerry probably won’t give up on its own operating system anytime soon. But the company has been working to bring its suite of communication and security apps to Android, iOS, and Windows phones, so it’s not a huge shock to see the company preparing to launch its own phone running one of those operating systems. If the BlackBerry Venice is a commercial success, don’t be surprised if we see more Android phones from the company in the future (and perhaps fewer BlackBerry OS phones).
Update: Blass has shared another image showing that while the phone will run Android software, it will come with a series of BlackBerry apps including a BlackBerry software keyboard, calendar, BlackBerry Messenger, tasks, notes, contact, and other apps. It’ll also include and Android version of BlackBerry Hub. Oh, and here’s what the sliding mechanism looks like in action:
.@halfnibble More of an “Android Maya job,” innit? pic.twitter.com/4Fhll0Bfv0 — Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 19, 2015
been wanting a blackberry phone with a keyboard, without having to sacrifice screen size. only problem is i could see this phone selling for $1k when it first comes out.
Yes. This is what I want.
Perfection would be this form factor with Wacom digitizer from Note series.
Gods, we waited years, YEARS!
No price? Oh wait, it’s Blackberry. So I won’t be able afford it.
SPECS! HOLY SHIT! I might hold off to see what happens with this. I value physical input above all else. Screw the Note 5, Moto X Pure, Nexus 6 (2015) if this manages to be at least as powerful as the X Pure and has a satisfying keyboard I’m sold. I’ll spend 1k unlocked on it.
Let’s just hope it clocks in at less than 1K. At $500 or $600 I’d bite pretty quickly or maybe X dollars a month on a Next plan, provided it gets updated and supported beyond the first 8 months. AT&T has a history of introducing amazing phones and then failing to support them beyond the next .1 update. Also, it’d be great to have a root option that doesn’t completely void warranty as there are still plenty of power users who enjoy having it to fill gaps that aren’t available at an app or OS level.
I have been waiting for this for years. Few companies have come close to the build quality and everyday premium feel of Blackberry hardware, but BB’s old OSs were just awful compared to Windows Mobile, Symbian, and then Android as it matured (I fully admit to not having extensively used any of the modern QNX based Blackberrys but by the time they started producing interesting devices and software I was already too invested in Android for everything I do.). I just hope when it comes out that it won’t be a one shot piece of hardware that never gets a followup because of lack of interest or bankruptcy. I loved my last android portrait keyboard device, the HTC status, after I wiped the stock HTC sense off and replaced it with Canogenmod. Would have kept using it much longer if it had a better processor instead of the arm11 processor they put in it that was ancient even back the device came out.
Why a portrait slider instead of a landscape slider?
Possibly better one-handed operation? BlackBerry has usually done that in the past, and a portrait view definitely is easier to handle typing if you have your other hand full.
If you cant beat them, join them.
I would have loved the Passport with Android
Should also produce a Windows 10 phone.
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