BlackBerry Avenger, My Take: Calm Down Team BlackBerry!

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We were all hoping for info from the IFA on the BlackBerry Venice. It appears we received what we wanted, with the name of the device, and a confirmation of Android as well as the much hoped for confirmation that there would be no Android Passport.

Some of the comments we’re already receiving, shows reaction I was not expecting. When I heard the news, I breathed a sigh of relief, as everything finally clicked in to place for me. Allow me to explain, while understanding this is all speculation, based on what we’ve been hearing and seeing for the past few months.

BlackBerry 10 is safe!

There’s been so many rumors discussed, both here and elsewhere, of different ways that BlackBerry could pull off an Android device. From a dual-boot hypervisor solution, to a hybrid OS, to even dropping BB10 altogether! Today, we find out that’s not the case. The Avenger shall be Android, with Google Services, some of which will be going through BlackBerry infrastructure, which should tell us, this is how BlackBerry will secure Android.

We have all seen the images by now of the slider running Android. One of the things that made many of us believe they were false, was that it was running pure Android with no BlackBerry skin, not even the BlackBerry apps we’re used to seeing. This is now a relief to me for two reasons.

1. This Android Avenger is not meant for the BlackBerry fan. Perhaps there will be a BB10 version, who knows? This Android version though, this is made for Android users. And for marketing materials, why scare off androidians with BlackBerry apps showing in images? Leave it as to what they’re used to.

2. By running pure Android, we see that BlackBerry HAS NOT switched focus. Resources have not been poured in to creating a BlackBerry Android. It is in fact, simply Android, which BlackBerry can dump the BlackBerry Experience Suite on, a product that was already in development for BES customers, and R&D costs can continue on their core businesses, of which, my favorite, BB10 is one.

A sound business decision

Nothing from BlackBerry has grabbed media attention like this for years. Well, nothing good anyway. And this has BlackBerry on people’s minds again. We already know many people that have left BlackBerry, look back fondly at their past BlackBerry phones, and nothing BlackBerry has done, has brought them back in volume, perhaps this will. We’ve heard rumors that this phone will be in all four American carriers. This in itself is huge if true, and if it sells decently, can show carriers that BlackBerry is still kicking, allowing further BlackBerry handsets in carrier locations.

So what is the Avenger? I see it as two things. A proof of concept, showing that BlackBerry can secure an Android phone. If BlackBerry shows that they can do something that the Google and Samsung giants have not been able to do with all their resources, that is an undeniable win for BlackBerry. Secondly, and the idea I’m most excited about, it’s a cash grab. Running pure Android, dropping the Experience Suite on it, this is little to no development costs for BlackBerry. There are rumors swirling that the device had help from Samsung in design, which if true, could cut that cost down. Now if they can sell this phone to Android users, that is adding an entire new customer base to BlackBerry, one which they need. This can return the handset division to profitability, and allow for even more BB10 development.

All in all, these are great things! And considering all the other possibilities that have been thrown about, in my opinion, the best possible solution. So for all those that are claiming it’s over for BB10 now, take a step back, take a breath and look at it again. BB10 fans will not be switching to android. Don’t be a Chicken Little. The sky is not falling. It’s opening up to great things!

Brad

BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • nnik

    Very well said Brad… exactly what I’ve been hoping for

  • DonMariano

    Sound reasoning Brad, the scenario you presented makes good business sense.

  • This is what I’ve been thinking for ages. A perfect marriage for securing Android. I hope though that there will be a bb10 version of the slider as well. Unless with the BlackBerry Suite my gestures and hub etc will be available but I doubt it. I do love all the hype this has caused so tells me people are still paying attention, now to win them over.

  • KING_Kia

    Agreed 100%.

  • Anthony

    A BlackBerry android would not bring users to BB10 BlackBerry. They would simply be Android users. Incentive for BlackBerry to keep using android and only tweak it with some BlackBerry experience apps.

    And if they can “secure” android it’s another reason to use android.

    Brad, your reasoning is akin to the lamb being fed for eventual slaughter. locco_smiley_7

  • scott-reid

    I’ll be interested to see if the BlackBerry Experience suite will be enough for me or if I will have to go with the Passport.

  • pratik_d

    What ultimately matters is that we as users get the option which is fantastic. Those who are used to using apps and all can go Android BB and also have the goodness of the experience suite and those who like the traditional flow and multi-tasking of BB10 will stay.

    • Anthony

      There are plenty of other android devices if you are used to using apps. Your choice is not only BlackBerry android.

      This BlackBerry android could move current BB10 users to android big-time in stronger BlackBerry markets like Indonesia, South Africa, etc.

      • pratik_d

        I know BB10 is a fantastic OS but the fact remains that the device sales are not picking up. Would you rather have Chen stop making phones? I don’t think so. Whether users buy BB10 devices or BB Android devices, the money will anyways go to BB so they can continue making devices and even more amazing stuff.

        Also, what we have heard is only about the android side of the coin. So we don’t know yet if BB10 will also receive some kind of app boost or maybe BB10 will have something more alluring so that people on the platform stay and don’t switch.

        Need to stay calm and wait for the formal announcement.

  • davemorgan

    Good take on this Brad and similar to my own ideas. Other manufacturers have run 2 OS on their range, so why cant BlackBerry?

    If it secures BlackBerry future great for us BlackBerry fans.

    • Anthony

      Really…who cares about BlackBerry’s future if it’s based on the data mining whore that is android. locco_smiley_17

  • Atmari

    I like your idea. And it makes sense.
    I would definitely give it a go and use the avenger as gaming device and my beloved bb10 for work

  • FallingTitan

    dual loaded phones with 2 os’s. you can switch on the fly.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Let’s inject some reality here and leave our fan boy side alone for a minute. By any standard BlackBerry is still trying to recover and survive in this business. The promise of major apps since the launch of Z10 until now even with Amazon apps, it’s not resonating with majority of consumers. You can call them sheep, fantards, idiots or morons, it would not matter. Sales of hardware is still declining. Revenue is not gaining any traction despite, the car infotainment software, BB12, BBM cross platform and so on. While BlackBerry continue to expand it’s software development and acquiring important software companies, It’s not generating revenue fast enough to replace the one they lost from the old BBOS subscription fees. At least not yet. It needs to find faster way to show the company is making money. It’s stock value is a reflection of that. Sure, we can talk about stock manipulation, media bias and unfairness of business practice by the carriers and the competitors, BlackBerry needs to explore every avenue it can rather than sitting on it’s ass and wait for money to fall from the sky. And hard working the company is. John Chen in a couple of short years are hitting every segment of businesses he can get his hands on, putting BlackBerry name out there for the naysayers. Will this new android phone work? Opinions are abundance. As a BlackBerry fan and investor, I certainly hope so. Because a revenue generating company will have plenty of room to explore other things. Dual operating systems, a high end touch passport and whatever the fans ideas of the next BlackBerry phones should be. But for now, lets get this company fully recover from the market to it’s formal sustainable condition. It has every ingredients it needs to be successful, it just need to have a decent revenue flow into the company. This is not your neighborhood lemonade stand, there are many aspects of the business we cannot comprehend. There are not many armchair critics operate successful billion dollar corporations for good reasons. Let just see where this go. We can then decide should BlackBerry choose to abandon BB10 and go into a different direction. No point fretting over a what if scenario.

    • mscloutier

      Well said bambinoitaliano, I completely agree!

    • Brad

      Wow! Very well put Bambino. Agree 100%

    • Robert

      Now this is a reply I definitely agree with. locco_smiley_10

  • bartron

    Spot on Brad. Excellent post.

    I see it as simply an attempt to target Android fans who would like to use a physical keyboard. It’s similar to releasing BBM and various BB10 features on Android, which they’ve already done. And there’s no sign that doing so has caused BB10 users to switch to Android.

    It’s a gutsy move, and a good one. The Chicken Littles need to calm down and start thinking rationally.

  • BB Racer !!

    Great post and comments !
    10M phone at 25% margins pays a lot of bills as the 65% -70% high margin software business ramps up !!

  • Schmurf

    Good comments and viewpoints. I for one am not worried about Android on BlackBerry. I have faith that BB10 will not be abandoned. But, if it is, it would be for a secured version of Android, not the leaky sieve version.

  • TRUENORTH

    Just a couple of problems with your rose coloured scenario;

    1 – Even the biggest players in this game are having trouble selling android phones. I don’t have to name the litteny of manufacturers who are teetering on the edge due to ultra slow sales of their android phones. In a market like this, there is little reason for consumers to buy BlackBerry android phones, particularly when these same consumers have been bombarded with ‘BlackBerry is dead’ stories for the last four years. Why BlackBerry would throw a sizable chunk of cash into developing an android phone, that has a very good chance of being completely ignored by the phone buying public is a good question. A particularly good question when we understand just how much cash was invested and how rare a commodity that cash is at BB-GHQ. It almost begins to appear to be a gamble: a last ditch attempt to sell anything: a panic move from a development department that has no other ideas. BlackBerry will end up pushing this phone uphill and it is a very long, very steep hill indeed.

    2 – The BlackBerry bashers. The much talked about ‘blogosphere’ that has spent the last number of years raking BlackBerry over the coals. The haters. The media that is firmly in apple’s pocket. Seriously, how do you think they will all represent this latest move by BlackBerry to their readers? Do you, for a minute think that they will say “Hey! What a great idea! BlackBerry is back!!” ( you may now take time to shake your collective heads) They will say ( and you can look for these exact words) “BlackBerry abandons BB10 in last effort to save sinking ship!” They will trumpet this development as a death knell; the final nail: the last gurgle from a company that has been circling the drain for years. They will use this a proof positive that all the negative things they have been saying for years about BlackBerry were correct. And every potential customer who might have purchased a BB10 phone will be listening. And every potential customer who might have purchased an android phone will say “Why should I buy my new phone from a company that has no history of building android phones in the first place, and may be out of business by next Thursday anyway?”

    Let’s not become what we have criticized others for. Let’s not become the dreaded ‘fan boys’, or ‘BlackBerry drones’ and refuse to recognize that all decisions made by corporate are sacrosanct and immune to failure. We need to recognize that this decision, above all others may be a bad one and might be one of the last steps in this long journey. I personally hope that this is not true, because I am totally committed to my BBB10 phones and my PlayBook, but I cannot restrict my view of this latest development to the proverbial rose coloured glasses.

  • Wayno

    Nice article Brad,
    I agree BB10 is not dead. If BlackBerry need to make an Android device to increase market share then so be it. As long as we still get BB10 handsets also, it’s a win/win. Now give me my shiny new BB10 Slider please Mr Chen!!!

  • I can’t really say anything, because I realy don’t know what to say, except that I hope BlackBerry brings us all (and by all I mean BB10 users) a big and good surprise!
    Let’s wait and see…

  • ray689

    I understand where you are coming from True North but I think there is something we are missing that is going on that I’m guessing very few even within BlackBerry may be aware of.
    So was thinking about this whole slider thing again. Chen stated that they are working on a couple of things to close the app gap. Obviously going android is one way. But what’s the other thing? Could it maybe be some sort of hybrid OS on top of BB10? Dual OS? Who knows. Maybe in the meantime he thought he would capture some market share or try to until his ultimate solution is built out. Picture it this way, if the slider is a success and the public opinion of BlackBerry devices begins to change, its very simple for Chen and BlackBerry to institute whatever the second solution they are working on is after. With the name somewhat saved and people realizing that BlackBerry does actually have the apps, they could easily push out the other BB10 solution which also closes the app gap. The positive response to an android slider with all the apps may move people to buying BlackBerry devices again. Even if they are a BB10 with some solution. The average consumer doesn’t know what OS they are using for the most part, they just know they have apps.

  • TRUENORTH

    Ray689 you have no idea how much I wish to be wrong. My personal dream is that somehow Mr. Chen is working on a way to allow access to Google apps for all BB10 phones. In light of how tight things are, how much development time would be needed to build a completely new phone to run android and the amount of scarce money needed to build it and all with only the slightest chance of success, I just can’t see such a huge investment of time, money and energy in a marginal project. Especially for a company that just a few short years ago was courting it’s own demise.

    • ray689

      I know what you mean True North. I believe that simply going android is not the best business move that’s why I think there is more to this than just that. Android can’t be secured to the same level as BB10 from what I understand and a company that is setting up to be a player in securing the IoT would not simply throw away that reputation. I believe there may be more at play here and the only way to find out is to wait for BlackBerry to reveal what exactly they are planning.

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