It has been another tumultuous week for BlackBerry; indeed there's been very little good news coming out of Waterloo for several years now.
The firm's OS was passed for third position by Windows Phone in the smartphone operating system rankings; then, after announcing layoffs last month, the loss-making company said it was considering a sell-off, news that required NASDAQ to halt trading on its shares on Monday.
Then it launched a device running an older version of its BlackBerry OS - whether the "new" 9720 smartphone is a good idea or not, it certainly looks like a backwards step away from the firm's recent launch of BlackBerry 10 OS.
So why not just scrap the OS altogether and switch to Android? Last week it was revealed that a group of BlackBerry investors attempted to woo the company into making the switch. Android works pretty well on sub-£100 budget hardware right up to £500+ premium devices, so on paper it makes sense. Google's platform has an almost 80 percent share of the smartphone market to boot. The merits of Android are clear, but what could BlackBerry do to set itself apart from phones like the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy devices?
BlackBerry arguably still makes the best Qwerty keyboard-based phones. However it is also arguable that not many people really want that sort of device any more. Even BlackBerry hedged its bets earlier this year with the launch of the lacklustre Z10 smartphone, without a keyboard.
Enterprise has to remain one of the firm's biggest strengths, plus many of its business services, as well as the still-popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service, can now be found on Android.
Ovum mobile analyst Jan Dawson sees this expansion as more of a necessity than any kind of migration towards the platform: "BlackBerry has had to face reality in that its devices are likely to decline in share, so they've had to expand their major platforms to Android," he told V3. "All are an admission that Android is a far bigger platform than BB10 itself will ever be."
This admission also extends to BB10 running Android applications from within an emulator, albeit very poorly. It was almost as if BlackBerry had just skirted past the idea of fully adopting Android, but ultimately missed it by inches and ended up with a worst-of-both-worlds solution.
"BlackBerry's special sauce is all in the backend - in its servers and Network Operations Centers rather than in the devices these days," explained Dawson. "They're even using ActiveSync to deliver Exchange email now, which is the same as everyone else. So it's hard to see them really setting themselves apart in the enterprise using Android."
So could Android fit BlackBerry in any way? "They could try it," said Dawson, "but frankly I don't think it makes any sense at this point. It might have done in the past, but there's so little that's special about BlackBerry anymore, I think abandoning the one thing that makes them unique - the software - could actually be counter-productive.
"One of the biggest things working against BlackBerry right now is that most carriers seem to have given up on it being a viable third platform. But they still want an alternative to Android and iOS, so if BlackBerry switched to Android that would actually be one more reason for the carriers not to support it."
The final hammer blow for this particular idea is the sheer dominance Samsung has over the Android market, selling roughly six times the phones than the number two Android player, LG. Muscling its way into this extremely crowded market at this stage is very risky, but the BlackBerry brand is still very recognisable across many affluent markets, so it's not an entirely implausible concept.
Whatever BlackBerry decides to do, be it to focus on back-end software and services or try to win over budget smartphone buyers across the world, for the firm's investors, customers and employee base, it is going to be a tough ride.
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