In a shrewd move to increase its appeal among consumers and kick-start sales, the next generation of BlackBerry smartphones could be designed to run Android apps. It is thought the phones will be launched in the first half of next year.
The news comes via Bloomberg, which cited “three people familiar with the plan” as its source.
Research In Motion (RIM), the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry product line, is currently building smartphones that will use its new QNX software. Phones with QNX will be able to run Android apps, the sources said.
Such a move is likely to heighten the appeal of BlackBerry smartphones among consumers. BlackBerry phones run on the BlackBerry OS, but this means they can only run apps from BlackBerry App World.
It has to be said, App World looks a bit sorry for itself when compared to Google’s Android Market. App World currently has around 40,000 apps available for download. If next year’s phones are able to run Android apps, that’ll open up owners of the new BlackBerry devices to a further quarter of a million. If BlackBerry can create some unique, feature-rich phones in the coming months, that may well cause consumers to pay RIM’s devices some serious attention.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Steven Li, a Raymond James Ltd analyst in Toronto, said, “Being able to run Android apps, that’s a big plus. If you get the tonnage of Android apps and the top 50 apps through BlackBerry’s App World, that addresses many of the concerns people have about RIM’s ecosystem.”
RIM has seen a decline in sales of its smartphones in the US although in other countries sales are growing. The Ontario-based company will be reporting earnings on September 15 and has said it believes quarterly sales could fall for the first time in nine years.