Prominent leaker Evan Blass took to Twitter to drop two big hints. The first appears to be promotional material that shows a BlackBerry device running Android and accessing the Google Play Store. The other tease is for BlackBerry’s email app and secure data transfer tool.
Blass’s second goodie illustrates that the device will indeed have a slide-out keyboard.
The big questions is to what degree BlackBerry will fork Android. Expect some preinstalled apps, as the screenshot shows Bing, WebEX, and BBC. It’s also a lock that BlackBerry’s own BBM will be part of the package.
The big selling point BlackBerry could bring is security. The company could market the Venice as a more secure version of Android, free of all those pesky Stagefright scares. November isn’t that far away, so look for more details to come soon.
Why this matters: Going with Android sounds like a really smart decision on the part of BlackBerry. There hasn’t been a popular, mainstream Android device with a slide-out keyboard since the original Motorola Droid series. While software keyboards like SwiftKey do a good job, there may be a sizable enough group out there that longs for the days of a physical keyboard. Given BlackBerry’s miniscule market share, they've got little to lose.