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Android On BlackBerry Is Good Business

By August 31, 2015Editorial

Let’s First Start With the Big App Developer Support Problems

This is primarily in response to the question “Why doesn’t BlackBerry pay big name app developers to get them on-board?” – as I know it’s a question that a very large part of the community is wondering. Why not go that route and stick to their guns with BB10 instead of jumping ship to Android?

The answer is that they will simply never secure those apps… Microsoft took the route of paying billions for advertising and bringing app developers on board. 10-fold what BlackBerry has the resources to spend, and they are having the exact same problem. You can have all the incentives you want, offer to pay some of the top developers millions of dollars to bring their app over, but it’s STILL not going to happen.

Users Matter. Point Blank.

The truth of the matter is that users are now the most valuable thing for app developers. I say “now” because eventually this is going to have to change. It is simply not a sustainable business model. Just having 500m users and making $0 isn’t a feasible company, yet the top app development companies are currently functioning with that due to so much VC money flying around. The industry is currently thriving on FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Noone wants to miss out on the next Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram.

So with that in mind, for the apps that have 500m+ users like Instagram, Snapchat, etc. what is another 10 million users on the BB10 ecosystem? Is it honestly worth Instagram or Snapchat to build and support an entirely different operating system at the chance of getting a fraction of 10 million users on-board? On a platform that a large percentage of the hardcore user base claims that they don’t even care that much about apps? Not in the slightest. It doesn’t matter how much they are begged and pleaded with, how many incentives there are, it’s simply not worth it for them.

Risk vs Reward

It’s like someone telling you hey, Bob, do you want $1 right now? or a 30% chance to win $100k? You’d be an idiot to take that $1.. But now if they said do you want $15k right now or a 30% chance to win $100k, that first option sounds a LOT more interesting. Well now replace that $1 with $10k and that $15k with $15m. That’s more realistic to what BlackBerry would have to do. And can they afford to be running around offering $15m to all of these various companies to simply build an app and support it? Hell no, they have stockholders, they can’t just run around giving money away like that for a small chance to be relevant again in the consumer eye.

Now if this would GUARANTEE BlackBerry success though, then they would absolutely do it.. But there’s no guarantees in business and their stock is already volatile enough. It simply got to a point where playing the app on-boarding game became more risky than moving over to Android. They made a pure business decision and the truth of the matter is that it is going to cost them them a LOT less developing an Android OS compared to app-onboarding AND it offers a MUCH higher chance of success. It’s always risk vs reward in business and once you start accepting that is when you will finally understand why BlackBerry was backed into this corner and why they are going the route they are.

Big App Companies Don’t Care About Money

At the end of the day, the top apps that we need on BB10, the dev companies behind them quite frankly DON’T care about money. Now that may sound weird.. But hear me out.

As previously explained, users are worth an easy 100x multiple “in theory” and that’s why we are in such a big problem right now. Users are WAY too highly valued in current app company valuations, making it simply impossible for BB10 to be an attractive app development option. The bubble needs to either burst and these $26b valuations of apps with only a few hundred million users have to go down to their proper $3b area, and then, only THEN is some kind of cash incentive from BlackBerry worth it. In the current state, BlackBerry would have to be offering these developers hundreds of millions of dollars just to port their app over to make these companies change there mind. And as a company, with shareholders and common sense, BlackBerry just simply cannot do that.

WhatsApp is a great example of a big app company that didn’t care about money. They ONLY cared about users. I’m sure many of you have experienced the $1 per year fee for WhatsApp that they never ended up charging? Yeah, hitting 400m users and still not charging a cent. Imagine how much money went into development costs and servers. I can tell you, they had a net loss of $138 million dollars at their peak. They were losing money like crazy. But they had the users, that’s ALL they cared about, and that’s all most big app development companies care about right now. It’s not the money. Because what ended up happening to WhatsApp? Facebook saw their 500m userbase and snatched them up for a whopping $21.8 billion. Now please tell me how much money you’d expect a company like BlackBerry to incentivize making an app when they are losing $138 million dollars a year? (Yes, WhatsApp was on BlackBerry at the time, but I think this helps explain why up-front cash doesn’t matter to these companies). The same thing can be said about Instagram, an app that isn’t officially on BB10.

Now that’s the problem that they have to face when it comes to getting users onboard BB10 and why BB10 cannot grow, but why ditch BB10 for Android?

Well it’s a pure hardware play at this point (there are some software benefits, but it’s primarily a hardware reason). They are hemorrhaging money from the hardware division and either have to axe the hardware division, or make hardware successful. They simply cannot sell enough BB10 devices to make the hardware business successful because the consumer market is vocal that BB10 needs more big name apps (and BB10 can’t get those apps because of everything I mentioned above).

At least Answer Me This

So to everyone that is complaining about Android, the real question is this:

Would you rather BlackBerry kill off it’s hardware division and never create another BB10 device? Sure, maybe some other hardware manufacturers would create some BB10 hardware eventually, but probably not. Well not unless BlackBerry managed to get more big name apps on-board, but again, referring to everything I mentioned above, that’s not likely to happen. And even going this route, how long would they continue supporting BB10 for anyway? As devices get outdated, more and more people will jump ship. As good as the specs are for the Passport, it’ll be outdated in a couple years and then BlackBerry will go into maintenance mode with BB10 for these users. They will have to because they will be losing money supporting BB10 as an OS and will be forced to axe that just as they axed the hardware business in this scenario. There’s a small percentage of users that will probably still utilize BlackBerry 10 over Android but that’s not enough to sustain a profitable handset business.

Or would you rather BlackBerry give their hardware business one last shot with Android to possibly keep BlackBerry around as a hardware and software company? Still get to experience Blackberry’s phenomenal hardware and try to give their productivity mindset to a more popular OS?

Because in both scenarios, there’s not a good outcome for BB10, but at the end of the day you have to pick one. And to be fair, so much is still unknown at this point, who knows how BlackBerry will truly execute Android on BlackBerry hardware. Stay tuned.


App development costs money to develop, QA, and support. Many of these companies business models involve acquiring a huge user base, often at a significant loss, to get a massive payout once popular enough (via acquisition or IPO). Due to BB10’s low adoption rate, there’s little justification for these companies to spend their precious operating dollars, time, or resources to go after the BB10 market.


Original Article

Alex Bass

Author Alex Bass

Alex is a Front-End Developer & UI/UX Designer. He is the President & Co-Founder of CyberBytes Inc. and made the BB10 App Web Design Cheat Sheet - Follow him at @alexhbass

More posts by Alex Bass
  • Chuck

    You’re right that users, not direct money, are the name of the game for big app shops. SnapChat, Facebook, Google, WhatsApp — all of them — make their money selling user data. If you’re not paying, you are the product. Personally, I won’t be buying any BlackBerry that doesn’t at least give me the option of BlackBerry 10.

    Imagine if your best friend asked for constant access to your location, your full contact book, your calendar, your texts, emails, phone log, etc. You’d say no. But when some silly app asks for it, people just tick “sure thing” without even thinking about it. Sad to me.

  • Shaishad

    Dunno how it will be working on a business. But I agree with you

  • Nigthowl

    Blackberry has to market their products and try bringing back old services along with the SAFS.

  • edgard.gondim


    I’m Brazilian. Just got a Passport Silver Edition. I used to have iOS and androids phones. The passport will be my first blackberry handset. I decided to buy a BB handset just seeing videos and reading reviews about the OS. I still waiting for the passport.

    The question is: if blackberry really launch the slider with android running, do you think they will give the option to the old customers to reboot their passports with BB 10 and install the android OS?
    I actually read a rumor about blackberry add a button to switch from BB10 to android.

    Sorry, my English is not so good.

    • Hi Edgard,

      The Passport SE is a great device. The truth of the matter is that noone knows yet but BlackBerry whether or not you will be able to install the Android BlackBerry OS on existing devices. But yes, the button allowing you to easily toggle between Android and BB10 is just that, a rumor. Google wouldn’t allow tablets to switch between Windows 10 and Android, so even if BlackBerry was able to implement this feature and have everything running securely, chances are it would never happen. Some existing form of the Android Runtime that is already on BB10 is the extent to which BlackBerry will be able to integrate Android legally speaking.

      As for being able to install Android OS over an existing BB10 though, honestly, noone knows. I personally would not be overly hopeful about it, but maybe? We’ll see. It’s all just speculation at this point! BB10 on the Passport is killer though. If you personally don’t worry too much about Apps that rely on Google Play Services then it’s a phenomenal setup, so enjoy it :)

  • Tinomuvonga Shumbanhete

    This android on BlackBerry is really going to see a lot bolting to iPhone. It’s a known fact business wise that change is really hard to come by but at times it can be costly especially now. Personally I think if I really wanted android wouldn’t have been on this platform. Nonetheless let’s wait and see how it goes.

  • Dave Sharp

    BlackBerry is a better experience and a superior platform to both Apple and Android based phones. I’ve owned all three and thus is the first time I’ve actually enjoyed using a smartphone, and owning a phone that completes it’s calls thanks to my Z30. The move to Android is unfortunate, but I doubt if BlackBerry 10 cannot save the day, there will be little to gain in beating down the Android door. It almost takes a godlike intervention to get most people to switch. I hope I’m wrong, this is the best phone I’ve ever owned. I’ve bought three and keep one spare. :-) in case the day come when nothing better comes out of BlackBerry. Good luck!

  • KPR

    BlackBerry must do what they need to do to survive. I will still be a BlackBerry 10 user and supporter.

    Great article and simple to read and understand.

    As much as we love BB10, I prefer BlackBerry to make it back, be profitable and healthy. Very important company. We cannot afford to see them go down!

    Keep writing like that… Boldly and never stop Moving forward.

    • Appreciate the kind words :)

      Couldn’t agree more. I can’t fathom a world without BlackBerry, so let’s prevent that from ever happening. Do what you have to do to stay alive BB. Honestly, they can still continue using BB10 in hardcore government regulated industries and enterprise.. This Android BlackBerry is just to save the hardware division and take advantage of the consumer and BYOD marketplace.

  • Achaglani

    What ever the case may be…not been ablr to use apps like uber,ola…commonly used world wide bt sOory nt on blackberry…I m upset..waiting it to happen os10…

  • Duong Tran

    Hosting Android or any other OS on new BlackBerry phones sounds like a good tactical move to survive in the interim, but doesn’t create a solid foundation for long-term prosperity.

    Thinking in long term, BlackBerry should make two radical strategic shifts:

    — Open the source code of BB10 and/or QNX. Invent some licensing scheme to make profit from them but leave them open.

    — Focus more on hardware development. Turn the Passport into a real PC (pocket computer), with really productive screen form factor and really productive keyboard. Stop making smartphones that are only marginally distinguishable from rival’s, like the Z10.

  • Neal

    Alex Bass from Berry Flow YOU ARE A SELL OUT!!!

    • Yes, you caught me.. I am a sell out.. I spent a large chunk of my time developing free native Apps for BB10 (mind you one of which has over 10k downloads and 650 five star reviews), converted all of my friends and family to BB10, do a weekly podcast where we just talk about BlackBerry (and it has been going on for more than a year and I haven’t missed a week – oh, and I haven’t been paid a cent), and I write occasional articles on BerryFlow for free. But you caught me.. I am a sell out.


      I’d say it’s a bit more that I’m being realistic about a company’s future and you are refusing to be. I still LOVE BB10, it’s more productive than any other OS currently on the market. They are ahead of their time. But they are BLEEDING money on this current route. Really, try running a public company. When you have hundreds of millions of shareholders that you have to appease to, you can’t just focus on a very small niche of the hardcore BlackBerry user-base. Just because they don’t think apps are a big deal, doesn’t matter. If BlackBerry was a $50 million dollar company, then they could focus on just building an OS that appeases a very very niche audience. But they aren’t. They are a $5 billion dollar company that will lose it ALL if they don’t change up their strategy. They gave BB10 a very solid shot, and the masses didn’t adopt to it. That doesn’t mean BB10 was a failure, it just wasn’t the right solution for such a large company in BlackBerry’s position. At the end of the day, they aren’t a charity, they are a business.

  • Maqsood

    Hi this is my first time logging a comment here. While I understand the concerns of those who have been using blackberry’s for a long time. I on the other hand am a new be to blackberry. My first blackberry was the passport… a super swift and elegant with a brilliant keyboard and easy ability to write and edit documents. A far cry from the Nokia lumia 1520 that I had before. A Microsoft phone incapable of editing documents and spreadsheets, inability to synchronise with one drive and Microsoft wants to call it a business phone? What are they serious? Then the blackberry classic was released. For me this phone was plain brilliant. All the advantages of the passport but in an easier to handle form factor. Ok I’ve almost forgotten what we’re talking about here… android on a blackberry. I’ve had many android phone pre – windows phones and yes while they are great when it comes to apps. They are useless for stability, keyboards, work related stuff, in call quality, load speaker volume..etc. But surely android blackberry is the answer? Is it not? I think it is. You still get bbm, a fantastic keyboard, excellent OS stability, blackberry hub, top notch security, excellent battery life, exceptional call quality and to top it all more apps than you will ever need. I personally think it’s the best move blackberry will ever make and I eagerly await the new phone and I hope it does come to the uk!

    • First of all, thanks for reading and leaving a comment :)

      Now, yeah, it’s definitely a decision that I’m torn on but starting to accept and enjoy. While I LOVE BB10, the market didn’t love it back. It’s a shame, but when the competing platforms have 1.8b users and you jump in trying to compete starting out at 10m users, it’s so unbelievably hard to compete. All too often better products die. Blu-ray actually won to a better product, it’s an interesting thing. It was better than Blu-ray in every way shape and form, but Blu-ray hit the market right and they honestly marketed the product better. It’s a shame, but it happens all the time.

      Now taking a company like BlackBerry who focuses so heavily on productivity, messaging, and security, I do truly believe that they are the one company that could make this all work. They can make Android have a similar experience to BB10 an it can be a huge hit. BlackBerry has productivity in mind everywhere. Android needs a company like that. I have a big feeling that Android will actually start to copy some of these changes into vanilla Android over time as BlackBerry continues to innovate on the Android OS. BlackBerry is a smart company and have so much experience with messaging and productivity. Looking forward to seeing how they choose to implement it all.

  • Chris

    I know BlackBerry 10 is the best on the market. People see mine and are like I won’t this instead of android. I think what we are forgetting is that it supports android for lovers of android. So why should BlackBerry leave this great thing for chaff?

  • Rubscast

    I tried to read all the comments but there are too many, that means that the article brought a really interesting point of view.

    I started using BlackBerry Devices since the storm 2. More than the security, I liked the productivity, something that I still admire and love. As a entrepreneur I know that sometimes businesses have to risk some things that they worked so hard on to achieve, in order to survive. It’s really sad as a business to observe how a product fails to get the results you expected, but probably the worst thing is that the product was really good, with lot of potential, but with a lack of success at the time of sell it.

    Being a customer and also a BlackBerry lover, I have the same feeling that many PlayBook users had already expressed. The feeling is: “I enjoyed the product, I believed in it, invested in it (buying apps), but now I realize that it won’t get any more updates or support”. At least this time is different, when BB10 OS was announced, Thorsten said that the PlayBook was going to receive the update, but then things changed and the PlayBook started dying. Now we know that BB10 probably will die before a new device is officially launched. We don’t know when, but we all (BB10 users) are experiencing the feeling and the changes. As said before in another comment, Berryflow, CrackBerry and others don’t have too much to talk about (related to the actual OS). I love searching for new apps in the App World, but there aren’t any good new apps. I’m starting to feel disappointed and of course I would like to blame the company, but I know they just want to survive. Should I blame myself for trusting and being let down again? I bought the z10, the Passport, paid a lot of apps… it’s a little bit frustrating.

    The rumors say that the actual BlackBerry 10 users would have the opportunity to choose between the BB10 OS and Android OS in a next update. And the reality is that QNX/Android won’t be as productive as the BB10 OS is. Starting with the peak and the menu bar that is at the bottom of the apps, those things we won’t see in android apps.

    My dilemma is (based on the rumors):
    – Should I go to Android and get tons of apps but sacrificing productivity and a good UI?
    – Or should I stay in BB10 OS with no more updates, no more support, few apps (devs won’t support a OS that is dying), but with productivity?

    In another topic, I think BlackBerry should “compensate” the users that bought bb10 apps, maybe giving as some credits in the Google Play.

    Just to finish, my perfect dream would be a BB10 OS with Google Play support, probably an app converter to adapt android apps to the BB10 UI (changing the menu bar to the bottom, creating automatically active frames, and better notifications), a blackberry hub with dark theme, probably the ability to change all the apps themes to dark or light through the device settings, an integration of the BlackBerry assistant with the BlackBerry Hub (swiping down it would be nice to see the temperatures, the tasks…even something like Google Now).

    • QNXbbx

      Hey my brother,
      don’t be depressed… or you’ll be absorbed.

      Let these script kiddies keep smoking Goooogle crack while digging their grave, believing they’re watching the Alice in Goooogleland movie.
      They really are cognitively ABSORBED, locked in, hypnotized by adds and enchanted by bullshit press releases that they are yet incapable of critically (technologically) evaluate.

      After all, it’s not their fault: they have been educated to mediocrity for years.
      Their decadent software “engineering” culture is all about 60/40 (best case 80/20), html5 , javascript… and monetizing.
      We do have to cope with such marketing software engineers nowadays…
      They’re usually good to make fart apps for the other fart users, and, as a matter of fact, they can actually make a lot of money with that vaporware.
      That’s what forms the infamous Analdroid Ecosystem:
      Big numbers, Big data, Big dollars, Big bullshit.
      The 4 buzz pillars for the successful recognition by the Wallstreet headless chickens.

      BUT CHEN?!
      He was an electronic engineer, a chip designer (he said) … can you imagine this guy dropping BB10 seriously?!
      BB10/QNX are the perfect platform to power servers and clients for a near-realtime AGNOSTIC internet BUS (remember ION)?
      Something that was crystal clearly envisioned when BB10 project was started by BlackBerry/QNX engineers.
      Could Chen really be so blind (dumb)!?
      Did he really smoke that much Gooogle crack that he got ABSORBED into an infamous Goooogle deal with the mirage of making a few dollars ASAP to save the hardware business?

      I doubt it… but still there are things that happened which have no kind of sense… unless he did it on purpose!?
      I don’t know who was the CRIMINAL that authorized the dependency injection of analdroid crap modules in BB10.3.1.
      If was Mr. Chen, then the picture really looks dramatic for us…

      Anyway, instead of burning all resources to buy other companies, as already stated, Mr. Chen for us (10 bb10 users) could at least do the effort to put some QNX hardcore engineers working shoulder to shoulder with an hardcore BB10 engineer and get the AGNOSTIC bb10.2.1 version (just with the original FLOWING, responsive, non-material stock apps) ported to QT 5.6.
      Then it’d be great to also make Blend integrate with that vanilla version…
      Blend it’s the only big thing that we’ll really be missing from the most recent versions.

      Well, I strongly believe a lot of awakened people will get back to BlackBerry as soon as they realize how great is to have a SMART Phone you can TRUST

    • I hear ya. And honestly, this isn’t a decision you have to make right now. Wait for the device to be released and see how well it works. If it doesn’t work as well as you’d like, stay on BB10, that’s fine.

      The whole point of BlackBerry making the jump to Android is that they want to secure and create a more productive Android experience. And they are the one company that can achieve that IMHO. Look at Samsung with that joke that is TouchWiz, all of these hardware companies think that THEY can build a better Android experience. But no, you need a hardware and software company whose main focus has always been messaging and productivity. BlackBerry is the right tool for the job, so we’ll see how it turns out.

      And again, if it ends up coming out like junk, then stick with BB10. Even with no or few updates, this OS will still last a while so long as you don’t rely on Google Play Services for apps.

    • QNXbbx

      I guess something went wrong with your blog… birdy…
      But it’ok, I’m happy I told here what I really think and how I feel about all this EXTREME BlackBerry Misery.

      Did you forward my comment to Mr. John Chen at least?
      If so tell him to contact me (he may ask their friends at Gooooooogle)
      I’ll be glad to join QNX to work on BB10 AGNOSTIC with QNX engineers.
      That’s the place to be… NOT GOOOOOOOOGLE, GEE!
      BB10.4 FREEDOM will be the AGNOSTIC version for the ETHICAL domination of QNX over the next decade.
      Cheers and sorry for having been extremely rude last night.
      Take care

  • Nelson Faria

    I’ll just stay with BlackBerry as long they supply BlackBerry 10. But I can’t see BlackBerry 10 being here for very long as JC hinted at Churchill interview. They moving to droid and probably will get 1 or 2 more updates to the OS and afterwards will be made extinct as happen with the PlayBook. It’s sad but that is the business rational. Just because is technically better doesn’t mean it’s going to be a sales success history is littered of cases like this. A good ecamplebpoited by JC

  • ChainPunch

    It is easy to say Chen is not doing enough, but the guy has no experience with hardware and everything that he has done is to gain that experience in a rather quick matter. The z10 and the q10 were failures and damage carrier relationships across the board and help scare away poor us cellular from blackberry. Z30 was less of a failure, but was only carried by Verizon in the usa and had a limited release. The first device release under Chen, the Passport, was a small success because blackberry did not loss money either on individual device sales or over all when taking in account all the cost incurred by blackberry in the development and release of the passport. The classic was another small success, but the leap is a device that Chen got wrong. However, it is not like blackberry had to take a write down on the leap. With all that being said now Chen has a better understanding of the hardware business and knows for sure that BB10 devices by themselves will not save the hardware business. People expect the ecosystem of either android or ios, so android is the only option left for blackberry in order to gain enough new device sales to save the hardware division. If the slider sale good numbers, 2 to 6 million for the year, then I will expect that a full touch device based off the slider with just the keyboard removed will be up for 2016. Part of the research and development can be ported over from the slider r

  • Wolverine

    I am long time BlackBerry 10 owner and advocate, if they go android, I will be officially down with blackberry. BlackBerry made the highest quality phones and didn’t advertise and market properly hoping they would come, APPLE made the lowest quality phone but advertised they made the best product and that is an a recipe for success in a zombified, sheeple mass market of stupid

    • QNXbbx

      Yeah my brother… I’m with you.
      99% of people are marketing driven sheeps, as you said.
      No brain, no pain !
      We’re so few left that we just can rollback our devices to bb10.2.1 in order get our AGNOSTIC FLOWING baby back, and keep it until it brakes.

      I’m seriously worried for the future of QNX, because they really ARE the future !
      Take care my friend

  • Nelson

    I’m thinking moving to Jolla as the OS isn’t a JVM and they promise they don’t share your data and looks like they are making strides is developing there OS with security in mind! Anyone interested in making similar move? Upsets me the fact I’ll loose the physical keyboard :(

    • Why not just stay on BlackBerry and BB10? Just because BlackBerry is embracing Android for it’s more consumer and BYOD market, doesn’t mean that you have to ditch BB10 now. I don’t see what Jolla has over BB10, even if BB10 was updated slower and slower, it’s still above the competition like Jolla and such.

  • Tony Morfin

    Facebook bought WhatsApp for 21.8 Billion dollars? I’m not sure that’s accurate..

  • Marva

    I am not going to speculate at this point, there are too many variables in play here and for the future of mobile devices. What I do know is BlackBerry is moving forward with QNX, IOT, BES, and across platform capabilities with the most secure OS available today. BlackBerry is involved in every aspect of modern technology integration, including mobile phones.

    • Great comment. Spot on!

    • Agreed, there’s so much more to technology then just “Mobile Devices”. Yeah, that’s a majority part of the market at the moment, but when IOT happens and everyone’s toaster, fridge, and light bulbs are connected to the internet, will BlackBerry be the ones securing the connection with QNX? Because that sure as hell is going to be a LARGE market. All this speculation that is going on is just primarily about the hardware division. BlackBerry has a very big future ahead of it when it comes to software, as you mentioned. Good points.

    • QNXbbx

      Yet these idiots at BlackBerry, according to what birdy here keep saying, will drop their masterpiece military certified bb10 os, the natural candidate to power the most secure controller terminal for all the technologies you just mentioned… in favor of a trademarked patchwork bullshit datamining and farting os, that birdy here (just like 90% of people that don’t have a clue about technology) loves so much?!
      GEE! … what a misery !

      BlackBerry does not have to spend zillion dollars to sponsor app developers, they just need to port bb10.2.1 with all native, FLOWING stock apps (without any analdroid or material uxp infection) to QT 5.6, and they’ll be ready for the next wave with their Bb10 vanilla AGNOSTIC OS.
      The original project we bought into !

      The next wave is coming with IoT.

      BlackBerry owns QNX, not Gooooooooooogle !… and QNX has no competitors in scalability, reliability, performance, quality of services, security.
      It runs the Internet! Ask cisco!
      Hence, Goooogle is late ! Analdroid is out.

      Engineers will only trust bb10 for IoT !
      Marketing driven sheeps will just follow as soon as they see what the difference in terms of responsiveness is when using a bb10 native device. and come to BlackBerry and forget the Analdroid fart-apps and their material mediocrity pretty soon

      BB10.4 FREEDOM

  • PaulB

    Good article Alex…

    I think it is a wise business decision for BB to put out a BB-Android device, have to get the device business moving, my preference is the Visa/Victoria (5.25 inch w/ Passport keyboard, not interested in the full slider, may change once I see it) …

    In the meantime, make it a lot easier to get Apps to BB10, add Apple Swift to Momentics ASAP once it goes open source … having Qt/QML and Swift in the development tool would be amazing for developers ! Agreed most of the better apps are in App Store, Android is a pain to develop on, so I wont even bother unless major upgrade to Android development environment, my preference is Qt/QML, bring Swift to Momentics and drop to 20% take on apps will definitely help grow BB World.

    Enjoy your articles and Sunday night chats… keep up the excellent work gents !.


    • Thanks for the comment Paul!

      Just as many reacted when they first saw the leaked images of the Passport, I think the same will happen with the slider. Many were turned off initially, but the actual device release and getting a hands-on totally changed it for many people (including me).

      I don’t think it’s as simple as just adding swift to the development tools though. There’s a lot of actual OS integration that would need to be done in order to get swift apps running on BB10. It’d definitely be a large project.. One that I don’t think they are too worried about tackling anytime soon unfortunately :/

      Appreciate the kind words, and we’ll keep on truckin! :)

    • PaulD

      Thanks Alex

      Yes I imagine bringing Swift to Mementics is a tough job but with the right small team it can be done. During my 25 years software engineering experience I have have seen much larger projects done like moving 4GL languages to other platforms is no time. I think BlackBerry should go after the apps from both platforms this is a w to do it. IOS is based on BSD so it should come over to Qnx. I have the Silver edition Passport so won’t get the full slider but would buy a Visa instantly. I also have a red Z10 I anyone wants to buy it.


    • Haha I too have a red Z10, man I remember back when I got it contemplating selling it or holding onto it.. “If BlackBerry gets huge again, this phone will probably go up in value! It’s like the moment that changed BlackBerry, in limited edition form!” Man, remind me to NEVER think that technology ever goes UP in value over time, even if it is “special edition”. Wish I sold it back when they were going for $800 hah

      But on your other point, it would definitely be interesting to see Swift on BB10. Who knows what the future will bring :)

  • Héctor González

    Wow is hard to see a great company go again if that was to happen…I saw it go with palm os and I wonder from Android to ios and Windows until I found BlackBerry with a z10 and now a Leap. I am new to all the os systems but I love BlackBerry and BB10 and would hate to see it go. But I am also a business owner and I own a logistics company and a tire shop an to safe my babies means to merge with someone else an not see them go I would just do that because my customers mean the world to me. That is my opinion I would hate for BlackBerry to disappear.

    • Exactly. I too am a business owner and just taking a second to stop and look at things from a business perspective really changes things. It’s so easy to be the consumer and be really mad at BlackBerry for what’s going on. But they are going this route to save the hardware division of their business, can’t fault them for that.

  • David

    Thanks for your reply. But Mr. Chen has not done enough in my books. He is getting close to 100 million in compensation and I don’t feel as a shareholder I’m getting value. Time to stop making excuses. Get the job done as in NOW. I don’t want to hear about the need for time. You have had plenty so “put up or shut up”.

    In my books, Mr. Chen has 6-8 weeks left to explain what is going on with hardware. He better have a plan, it had better be solid and they better know how to sell it. No bullshit this time. Mr. Chen better be out there every waking moment pushing product. Let me say it again, No bullshit and no excuses. Get it done.

    • I hear ya man. It is frustrating.. Very.. He has been acting a bit strange the past 8 months or so. It atleast felt like he was doing a lot more during the beginning of his term. He has been avoiding media and playing it so safe lately, so I can see your frustration. Luckily, the device is rumored for November? So we’ll DEFINITELY be hearing the plan soon. And hopefully it checks out. It has been a damn frustrating past few months especially. They are really keeping things under wrap. Hopefully it’s worth the wait. We’ll see soon enough.

    • David

      I appreciate your comments but if Mr. Chen show up with a slider and nothing else in hand in terms of vision and other hardware plays, then I will be sadly disappointed, again. He better understand the gravity of the situation and his need to go the extra mile. I don’t want nonsense and half answers. Those days are over.

    • Copernic

      The problem here is that we are too focused on the hardware and specifically the handset part. BlackBerry is not Samsung capable to *produce* 10 models per year. BlackBerry is not Apple with the iconic (I hate this but it is a fact for a lot of people) brand. BlackBerry is a company trying to change its roots. One device per year for the handset part, a strong strategy in the software (services) department. For me the question is more what Chen has for BBM. Because for this point with the recent purchased (athoc, etc.) I am a bit confused.

    • David

      Yes, in terms of hardware, it makes sense for BlackBerry to limit it’s hardware builds. In this regard they could focus on PKB designs and leave full touch to one of the big OEMS. As stated above, this is what I want to hear from Chen. Showing up with a slider and nothing else but champagne wishes and caviar dreams would be a serious mistake. I want to see some serious planning from a hardware perspective. I don’t want to about the “future” or about “potential”. These words should be banned, never to be used by a blackberry employee. Time to live in the “now”.

      As to software, yes things are starting to shape up but yet again, all we have is a bunch of half filled promises. Does anyone know how to sell things at BlackBerry? Get going as in NOW. As a shareholder, that bottom line better be moving in the right direction, come September. I’m not paying Mr. Chen to sit at home in his PJs.

  • David

    I understand your rationale and business assessment in regards to blackberry hardware business. But let me be blunt. Android as currently implemented is poor. It is disorganized, lacks flows, and incredibly frustrating to work on. From a productivity perspective, it lacks any form of intelligent design. Maybe, just maybe blackberry can do something with it. Whatever blackberry does, I want them to STICK TO A PLAN and not consistently fuck over their end users. And for God sake, get out there and start selling your devices. I don’t want excuses. Get off your fat lazy ass Mr. Chen.

    • I mean that’s the whole purpose. I completely agree, parts of Android are definitely a mess, but they have been making progress with Android M. Yes, there are some really dumb things in the Android OS. Like the task/app/multitasking manager for example.. it’s TOTALLY form over function. It looks really nice with the almost 3D overlapped tiles forward and backward, but from a usability and productivity standpoint, it’s complete crap! But from what we have already seen in the leaks, BlackBerry has totally revamped that design and implemented more of an active frames type setup.

      BlackBerry isn’t dumb, they know productivity VERY well, and it appears that they are doing what it takes to improve those lacking aspects of Android, but we won’t know the full picture until it’s finally released.

      I’m sorry to say though, BlackBerry has been sticking to their plan.. The only problem is that their plan relied heavily on outcomes. Their plan was to 100% be running BB10 for the next decade, but the market didn’t adopt the platform, so their plan had to change. Doesn’t mean that they are a complete and total mess with no plan, it’s just that you can’t predict exactly how well a new product is going to perform in a market.

      As for their current plan, I think it’ll be pretty solid. So long as they get heck.. 1% of the Android market to buy their device? Then they will be considered successful in the hardware business. And so long as they are successful in the hardware business, they will be able to continue developing future devices (1 or 2 a year – short-term) and their “plan” will feel more solid and consistent.

      It’s easy to be frustrated right now, I hear ya. They are ripping out a phenomenal OS from our hands. None of us particularly want it to happen, but atleast think of the positives. It’ll be nice to FINALLY not have to deal with the app problems on the platform for a change. I rely on quite a few android apps for work on a daily basis, but have managed to get by on BB10 ever since it’s inception. It has been a bit frustrating at times though.

      And keep in mind that Chen does not have an easy job. It’s funny, so easy too sit there and think he hasn’t done shit, but he has been rebuilding carrier relationships, slider is possibly being released on all major US carriers… Like that’s nothing shy of a miracle seeing as where they were not even a year ago. He has a lot of crap he has to do and it’s tough to turn around a company that has been taking it up the (yeah) from media for the past 6 years.

      He still has a lot of work ahead of him, but I’m sure he’s the right man for the job.

  • Marc

    This is an interesting article. There is no doubt that the BlackBerry 10 OS is the superior OS. Android is just ok and iOS is old and frankly boring. It’s interesting how Apple and Android has borrowed great aspects of BlackBerry 10 and integrated them into their respective OS’s.

    If BlackBerry is able to make a secure Android OS that closely mimics BlackBerry 10 as well as limit the built in tracking of all information and has the ability to kill those constantly running apps then I will strongly consider staying with BlackBerry with Android. Other than iOS and Windows what other options do I have?

    I don’t care much for the “candy” apps that are out there but I do need the banking and financial apps and certain professional apps that I need to function in my current profession. That’s not a developer issue it’s a company issue that offers the goods and services that would put out that app for the masses.

    BlackBerry kept talking about professional products but kept minimizing the fact that business professionals also wanted and needed these “candy” apps and the banking and financial apps. They left us out. There was also very poor management at the upper levels.

    The 9930 was supposed to be the iPhone killer and as excellent as the phone was it wasn’t close.

    The Z10 was OK and the Z30 was great. The Q10 Ok. The Classic much better. The hardware is important and BlackBerry has not performed well thus far. Yes for us diehard BlackBerry fans they were great but not for the masses.

    I am hopeful that BlackBerry 10 will survive and flourish. I am hopeful there will be a qnx hypervisor OS that will run both BlackBerry 10 and Android simultaneously. We will see. But we may be seeing the end of BlackBerry as we know it. I think the big tech companies are just waiting for BlackBerry to really fail and then they will pounce. BlackBerry will either die or be sold. I wonder who would take take them…

    • I agree, I too rely heavily on certain apps for work. Sadly, all of which are only available on Android. QuickBooks Online, Harvest, StreakCRM, Slack (recent BB10 versions, but they don’t compare in the slightest to the Android version), Google Analytics, AdWords, the list goes on and on. And this is all for work, daily use-case stuff!

      And then there’s the work business banking, and credit card apps. All Android of course. Most work alright, but are slow and I don’t get proper notifications. And from a personal banking standpoint, again, all Android apps that run *alright* but no notifications and are quite slow to boot and such.

      BlackBerry had to do something about Apps, and it’s not just those “candy” apps or Snapchat or Netflix, whatever.. There are so many business professionals that rely on hardcore business apps.. So how do you go around touting that you’re a business professional device, when you don’t even offer options (or a good experience) for many of the business-oriented apps. But yeah, shame on these companies for not pushing out apps, but hey, some of these banks and credit card companies have crap Android and iOS apps, yet alone them taking the move to develop their app for other devices.. I mean give me a break, so many of them are so old and living on old blood, don’t give a crap about users.. They’d rather people just ditch BB so they don’t have to hire an app developer to build an app. But what can ya do?

      So yeah, they definitely have a lot of potential with this route, but they really have to do it right.. People will be taking a fine tooth comb to their new device, software, and strategy so they really can’t afford to make any mistakes. It’s going to be a rough next few months/years for them.. But it should also be a very interesting time for them. While I’m sad, I’m also very, very excited.

      And I wouldn’t worry about them selling.. Chen has been VERY vocal about not selling unless an incredible offer came in.. Talking north of $20/share like right now.. And sitting at $7.50/share, there’s no way in hell that someone is going to come in with that kinda offer anytime soon.. And by the time someone does, Chen will be looking for more like $30-40-50/share. I really don’t think they are looking on selling whatsoever. They have SO much IP right now that they just need to show the value in it and their stock will shoot up. They need more time to show off their assets.

  • Alex

    Once BlackBerry was in the top, that why I jumped from ios to BlackBerry, because was the best in the business. If this happens, all I have to say is “Once we saw a great OS!”



    • Appreciate it :) Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Saif

    Like I really understand that it’s a blackberry-oriented site you guys are running but it would have been nice to criticize those you “love” from time to time, not just blindly defending every move blackberry does. What a shame.

    • We do have criticized this move frequently. Please check previous BerryFlow Upstream Podcasts :)

  • lnichols

    Well I guess you are right, that BlackBerry isn’t making a device for me, or anyone else who bought into the Z line anymore. It is sad that after being with them since 2007, them converting me to all touch with the Z line, and really liking the BB10 OS and them finally getting it to be a great OS, that they bail on it. Android really isn’t of any interest to me, it’s a poor man’s iOS and apps are second class to their iOS counterparts in comparison IMHO. I’ve transitioned with them through the PlayBook and BB10 (week one adopters on both), but really don’t see them staying in hardware, and can’t transition with them yet again as they can’t commit to anything based on their financial situation.

    This looks like just a stopgap to not let BES12 sales and base collapse while they attempt to convince customers to manage iOS and Android devices via BES. I think they will lose more business handset customers to iOS than they will convert to their Android devices, especially in the Government spaces based on my observations and working with security organizations in that space.

    Strange times. I mean all the best to them and we’ll see if their is this flood of PKB user who have been waiting for Android with a BlackBerry PKB. But if they don’t come, just admit you were wrong about this untapped PKB market and not makeup yet another excuse as to why people aren’t buying PKB phones. I’ll admit I was wrong if these things fly off the shelves and they hit 10 Million sales of this device in a year.

    • The real problem is looking at BlackBerry like they are primarily a hardware business. Yes, it’s the more consumer-facing side so it’s what we can relate to, but I really don’t think this is an attempt at a stopgap to not let BES12 sales collapse. Simple reasoning is that BES12 is cross-platform.. BlackBerry doesn’t care if their enterprise customers are on iOS or Android or BB10. It doesn’t matter. They have a cross platform service and that’s the important bit. Yes, this device will probably put the nail in the coffin when it comes to finally convincing enterprise customers that their BES12 services truly work on Android, but they could prove it before. A new Android device by them isn’t going to change that, so I think it’s pulling a bit to assume that’s the main purpose for this device.

      What I really think this is, is them fully committing to the cross-platform software business. With more than 1.2 billion Android devices on the market, should BlackBerry not be creating a killer BlackBerry Experience Suite for Android? It has been their plan for a long time now, it’s the only way they can be a true cross-platform software manufacturer. They really should be focusing all of their efforts on trying to get their software into the 1.6b smartphone users between Android & iOS. I don’t think people realize just how big that market truly is compared to the 40m users currently on BlackBerry. If they do a good enough job with the experience suite, then they should be focusing most of their efforts on improving these apps on Android and iOS because it’ll be the main source of income aside from BES. You then get to a point where you’re trying to maintain an ENTIRE OS (BB10) the BlackBerry Experience on BB10, the suite on Android, and on iOS. And it’s a LOT of work to keep BB10 up-to-date, keeping dev tools (momentics) up-to-date, etc. maintaining their own OS is a really tough thing to do at their size while not letting the other platforms fall to the way-side. And if the other platforms fall to the way-side then byebye potential 1.6b customers.

      It’s always about the numbers.. If BlackBerry was a $500 billion market cap sized business then they could afford to fully maintain an OS (BB10) while doing their software and hardware business. But they aren’t. Even Microsoft is struggling and they have more resources then they know what to do with, they are a $300b mkt cap.. BlackBerry is under $4b.

      I think within the next couple years you’re going to see Microsoft cutting back on mobile and focusing their software efforts on Windows 10 for desktop/tablet and their other avenues like VR. Microsoft is considering backing out of the mobile industry with Windows 10 for Mobile because it’s just not working. If that industry was feasible, then Microsoft would have been able to accomplish it with their sheer amount of money. The fact that BB10 made it as far as it did is surprising enough with how small of a company BlackBerry is compared to Microsoft.

      And you need to keep in mind that 10 million phones is NOTHING when it comes to Android… They only need less than 1% of the Android market and they will sell 10m phones easily. Compared to BB10 where they are trying to steal away Android and iOS users, which is MUCH more difficult than just jumping into the Android pool.

  • Merritt Cluff

    All very realistic and practical comments. I have no argument except to say that if BlackBerry is particularly skillful in adapting to/ embracing android, there will be the only chance for it. I like BlackBerry for its commitment to the best messaging experience. If they can keep this, I will follow them. Good article.

    • Alex Bass

      Thanks, and I definitely agree. The messaging experience on legacy BlackBerry devices is what sold me on the company in the first place back with the old Tour 9630. The productivity of the HUB is what’s keeping me on BB10 now. Hopefully they can successfully transition their messaging management and productivity workflow to Android. This is their one chance to not screw it up. I do have faith though.

      Can’t wait to see how the HUB turn out, very hesitant about it though. There’s no way it can be as integrated as the BB10 HUB, so we’ll see. :/ Good luck BlackBerry, we’re cheering for you!

    • Merritt Cluff

      I am intrigued by Chens response on Android, that bb10/ qnx and Android share the same base. Is a good and true hybrid possible? It does not have to be the bb10 hub, but maybe even better. We know apps are needed. I just bought passport though and with no future for bb10, it may be a mistake. BlackBerry fans will feel dupped.

    • Yeah, when you get down to that core of programming, languages are pretty similar. It’s not surprising that QNX has a very similar core to Android. But as for a dual OS hybrid, I think that’s a pipe dream and don’t think it’d honestly even work that well. Switching between Android and BB10 sounds good in theory, but in practice I think It’d be more of a hassle then anything. As for a hybrid OS in the sense of Android sitting ontop of a QNX core though? That’s possible. But it’s just for security reasons. When you’re talking about that type of kernel level, we aren’t anywhere near that actual functionality of the OS. It’ll be running primarily Android with BlackBerry productivity tricks and improved features placed around the OS.

      But yeah, just like the PlayBook.. Some people are going to feel “duped”, but you should be able to get a solid 2-3 years out of the device running on BB10, and then I’m sure you can sell the thing to some other BlackBerry loyalist who is looking for the passport in a couple years. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, just enjoy and get use out of it while you still can.

    • Merritt Cluff

      I think the backlash of current passport owners who are quite happy now, but who see no updates of future with the software will be huge. More than playbook Now you buy a device hoping it will keep up with rapid progress in software until you buy a new one. But if bb10 stops, then the “fun” ends. In this sense only ios is faithful .. but as you argue, BlackBerry does not have much option. If however android productivity software still works on passport, would it still be an option?

    • David

      As I said above, Blackberry better show up with more than a “slider” and a “screw you” to the rest of the user base that has been keeping them alive. This message better be heard loud and clear by Mr. Chen. If not, I’m done with blackberry and the 15 handset that I have purchased for my business are gone. Never ever again will I be duped by these clowns. I’m tired of this nonsense, the lack of planning, the half lies/half truths and the consistently poor operational performance.

  • Jon raymonds

    That’s cool

  • Nearvanaman

    Good article. Friend of mine is high up in Microsoft and told me the exact same thing. App developers point-blank are not interested in being paid to develop Windows apps. There will never be native BB10 apps of consequence for the same reason.

    I remember owning an Amiga computer in 1990, buying all the magazines, loads of games. By 1995 the platform was virtually dead, share eroded by IBM compatible PCs. The magazines went from 100 pages to 40 pages (mostly ads). The smart publishers got out of a dead market and adapted to the new reality.

    The new reality for Blackberry is that BB10 has no momentum and unless it changes architecturally, it will become nostalgia like Amiga OS. I don’t blame a Blackberry site for doing the same as the Amiga content publishers of the 90s, personally.

    • Thanks for reading (: and really great comment!

      So true, I mean anyone that says BlackBerry didn’t give BB10 a legitimate shot is lying to themselves. Had they pushed out the first BB10 OS maybe 4 years prior, it’d have been a much different story now. But they didn’t. They got fat and lazy at the top of the market. Apple crashed and burned at the top too, this stuff happens. But they have learned from it and I think the new BlackBerry will be quicker to evolve and adapt. Just as Apple did when they brought Jobs back in.

      There are two ways to look at this. There’s the concept that devs killed BB10 because they didn’t support it.. But the more realistic way that is to say BlackBerry essentially made it DOA by not bringing it to market sooner. They knew day 1 that getting devs on-board would be tough. That’s why they had things like the $10k commitment right when BB10 came out. They should have started working on BB10 when they saw the iPhone instead of just laughing at it, thinking it would just blow over, and releasing the Storm mess. They didn’t understand that an OS should be built around a device, not the other way around. They finally realized this when they started experimenting with the PlayBook and QNX. They were just too late with all of this. That’s all it is at the end of the day. Legacy BBOS had great developer support, but they were first to market. BB10 had terrible developer support because they were late to market. Yes, it’s a phenomenal OS and I really hope they do SOMETHING with it, but what that is still remains a mystery as of right now. It’s time to move on and see what the future holds.

  • lnichols

    With BB10 they can provide a pure BlackBerry experience and have complete control over that experience. With Android it is whatever BlackBerry experience they can cobble on top of Android, or maybe just apps running on Android that are not deeply integrated into the OS. Why should I care about just another Android OEM with a BlackBerry PKB on the hardware when I’m a BB10 all touch user who doesn’t want a PKB?! Why should I care if BlackBerry’s hardware division survives. Others can make all touch hardware cheaper, better, and provide much better customer support and yearly refreshes. BlackBerry cannot do this as we have seen with limited, and poor phone offerings since Bb10 launch.

    • Yes, they will not be able to integrate their software as deeply into Android to the extent that BB10 has it, but it’s just something we are going to have to deal with.

      Why should you care about just another Android OEM w/ BB PKB when you are an all-touch device user and don’t care about the PKB? Well the answer is quite simple.. You shouldn’t care, and that’s just fine.

      Why should you care if BlackBerry’s hardware division survives? Well they are the only ones that will ever develop another BB10 device (I mean they probably won’t, but it’s honestly the only hope for another BB10 device). No other hardware manufacturer will build a BB10 phone because they aren’t selling well, so why would they build one to just lose money?

      Yeah, I know. Really not that motivating, but it’s where they are at.

      If the BlackBerry hardware division stays in business then that means they get to keep their infrastructure which is a good thing. It will allow them to keep their name out there on another level than just software. Many people see BlackBerry as a device company, so if they cease to exist in the device branded business, then many people will write off in their minds that BlackBerry is “dead” because they won’t know any better.

      Yes, none of this directly fixes any problems for you personally, but they are a business, they are out there to make money, not make every single individual person happy. There are a LOT of people that use BlackBerry just for the physical keyboard, so this device and move makes total sense for them. BlackBerry is truly the only legitimate PKB company, so there are a lot of people (not even on BB10, specifically Android users) who are extremely excited about this device and they will give BlackBerry another chance. Yes, they are going to upset a LOT of their loyal users with this move (like you), but again, they really don’t have a choice in the matter.

      The best thing that I can say is that you obviously joined BlackBerry for a reason. Companies have to evolve, adapt, and change to survive. So wouldn’t it be nice for them to get back to a level where they could prosper again?

  • Nelson

    Even so I agree with the article also signs me that I should start thinking which platform I should move to as Android isn’t an option for me.

    • Let’s wait until BlackBerry actually announces something :)

  • Akshay Dhargawé

    This post just killed me. What a shame! A great OS, unrecognised, left to die. Hopefully after gaining a good chunk of market share, they bring back the BB10 OS.

    • The end is never the end!

    • Copernic

      Meego was an excellent OS like Jolla but the keypoint for BB10 is that this OS is secured and certified. As said and well written in the article (even if… in french ‘ ca fait mal au derrière’) with nearly 0% of market share Blackberry, to live, has to find a way to show how good are the apps and the Blackberry experience. So Android customised for the mass market and BB10 for the G20… for the moment.

  • Please forgive me for being blunt, but lately this blog has become yet another Android blog. We’ve had some great conversations over the past few months, and I still consider you all my friends. Feel free to BBM any time.

    However, it is time for me to unsubscribe. I wish BerryFlow the best of luck.

    • I’m sorry you feel that way man. I guess we could write a bunch of articles about BB10, but there’s really not much to talk about. BB10 updates have slowed down and the leaks are just bugfixes. What else would you like us to post about? All of these leaks are about Android and BlackBerry. Because of that, it’s tough to be a BlackBerry blog and not talk about Android. I hope BB10 stays around just as much as the next guy, I mean hell.. I’m a BB10 app developer. I don’t want all of the work I put into the BB10 ecosystem to just vanish. I’m also a shareholder for BlackBerry, I have been for more than 3 years now. I’m just trying to be realistic and I recommend that others be too with the current situation that BlackBerry is in.

    • Later!

  • Chris Creveling

    On point my friend

    • Alex Bass

      Thanks man (: