Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

beware

As most of us here already know, recent leaks, renders, fake images, and supposed insider info has the BlackBerry community in an uproar. The community seems divided as to what is coming down the pipe and how it will impact BlackBerry and more importantly the handset division as a whole.

I have to admit, even among the ranks of UTB there has been endless discussion and back and forth as to the validity of the rumors and the impact it would have on BlackBerry.   If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about the much maligned and in some cases praised rumor of the Android based slider.

After a lengthy discussion with a couple UTB’s finest last night. I spent a lot of time thinking about this potential move and what could be driving it and what it would mean for BlackBerry and the community.  I came to a couple of conclusions that in my opinion best explain this move if in fact that is what we are going to see.

As we all know BlackBerry is synonymous with security.  Not even the most anti BlackBerry site can deny that.  We also know that John Chen has already stated that the only way they would release an Android based device is if they can secure it.  And if anyone can secure Android, its BlackBerry.  The big question is, will it be as secure as BB10?  The answer to that in my opinion is NO.  BB10 was built from the ground up with security in mind.  Android was not however, like I said, if anyone can secure the Swiss cheese that is Android, its BlackBerry.  A company that prides itself on security would not simply ignore the fact and release a device that is just a me too Android.

With that said, the second thing that has the community reeling is what happens to BB10 if BlackBerry decided to go down this route?  Will they cease to support the platform?  Will it be the final nail in the coffin to our beloved OS which many including myself feel is the best and most robust OS on the market today save for the dreaded app word? I find this hard to believe and I think Chen has hinted to us that is not the case as well.

I do recall when John Chen admitted that apps have been the Achilles heel of the platform, he did state that he is working on “a couple” of things beyond the Amazon deal.  Now I can’t begin to speculate what he was getting at but I would assume one of those things is likely an Android based device and the other…..well that’s anyone’s best guess at this point.

The fact of the matter is, a company that prides itself on privacy and security would have a hard time moving away from a platform they built from the ground up with just that in mind.   Are they releasing an Android device?  Likely yes.  Will that mean the end of BB10?  Anything is possible but when the whole business strategy and mission is on the line, it is highly unlikely.

Then why do it?  First of all, BlackBerry has a lot of work to do to gain back consumers and shed the BBOS issues (spinning clock, lack of apps, etc) that many still associate with BlackBerry devices.   An Android device will do just that.  While this stigma is taken care of and the device business is profitable, John Chen can then focus on what they do best and that is the most secure OS on the market today, BB10.

In closing, BlackBerry has to do what it can to ensure a profitable hand set division at this point.  I have no doubt that what we are seeing is not what it seems.  There is likely things going on that not even the most revered “leaker” in the community has any clue about.  It has to be the case otherwise everything that BlackBerry is built on will be for nothing if they are just another Android OEM.

The Gold standard for privacy in security will not disappoint and likely has some tricks up their sleeve. What those are, I can only speculate but time will tell.

  • BB Racer !!

    Great post Ray !

    Security is BlackBerry competitive advantage, I believe any BlackBerry Secured Android will keep security in mind on the consumer level and of course the ironclad enterprise level !

  • jrohland

    The possible scenarios have been discussed ad nauseam. I came down on the side that if BlackBerry is going to sell Android, and if they claim to have secured it, there is no need for BB10–from a business perspective. I don’t believe they can afford the needed engineering resources to maintain 2 OSes. Yes, I understand the theory that they don’t need to do anything with Android except install it. If that is true, how could anyone expect it to be any more secure than any other derivative?

    None of us know what BlackBerry’s plans are. Rumors are not facts. Even John Chen does not know the future of BB10. He has stated a strong belief that it will continue but business reality often lays waste to even the best laid plans.

    Anyway, I always appreciate the perspective of other intelligent people. Keep ’em coming.

  • Robert

    Agreed 100%.

    I wish people would just settle down over this and wait to see what’s going to happen. The Slider will be unveiled real soon and with that all the questions that everyone has will be answered.

  • TRUENORTH

    Ok. One more time;

    1 – Nobody is buying a cell phone because it is secure ( other than us of course!). If you want to argue that then you must also explain why people buy android and apple phones. Obviously security is not a top priority. So, sadly, to most cell phone buyers the famed BlackBerry security is not a purchase enabler.

    2 – Even the big names in the industry are having a hell of a time selling android phones. In fact virtually none of them are making a profit on them. To expect BlackBerry to suddenly drop yet another android cell phone on the market and sell millions of them is a pipe dream. It’s just not going to happen.

    3 – The bloggers. The press. Your Grandmother have spent the last four years telling everyone that BlackBerry is dead. It is generally accepted throughout the cell phone buying public that BlackBerry is circling the drain if not already down it. It has been a hard enough battle for BlackBerry to convince anyone that it is not true and that BlackBerry is coming back in a big way. Now ask yourselves, “How many of the ignorant cell phone buyers, who believe all the stories of the death of BlackBerry are going to run out to buy, yet another, android phone from BlackBerry?” Answer; ‘not too damn many.’

    4 – The same bloggers, press and Grandmothers noted above will jump on the chance to announce that they were right! They will trumpet that BlackBerry, in a desperate attempt to sell something to generate some cash, have abandonned the failed BB10 O.S. and launched an android ( which nobody will buy because BlackBerry is going out of business and has launched yet another android phone with BlackBerry security -who cares)

    This whole thing sounds like a test balloon to see what the reaction would be. At worst, it is a desperation gamble from a development department that is bereft of new ideas.

    Which ever it is, it is a bad idea.

    • Brad

      I gotta respond to this! Bear in mind this is just opinion, we’re both just responding with what we think. Don’t want it taken like I’m saying I know something I don’t. Lol!

      1- completely agree. Which is why we need to promote what else BlackBerry 10 can do. Which is amazing even outside of security.

      2- They’re not having a hard time selling phones. Android is the most sold. They’re having a hard time making their plans. As they downsize and reduce their plans, as BlackBerry has done, they could make a load of money. The gravy train is done. Selling millions of phones based on small upgrades just isn’t happening anymore.

      3- just reading other columns and comments to columns, I’m guessing BlackBerry won’t have a problem selling an android phone. People are excited to get a BlackBerry again. As long as it’s android. Idiots.

      Again, don’t think it will be a high number, but BlackBerry doesn’t need to sell huge amounts to cut a profit.

      4- agree with you about the bloggers. It’s already happening. So it’s up to us, the rock solid BlackBerry fans, to correct them and promote the brand, and OS, we love.

      • TRUENORTH

        We’re half way there!

        2 – “They’re not having a hard time selling phones….” I am sure this would come as a surprise to the likes of Samsung, Sony and Toshiba whose sales numbers are a fraction of their original estimates. It seems that the only people who are selling android cell phones are the marginal manufacturers mainly from China who sell on price point. BlackBerry will be unable to compete in this cut throat market.

        3 – I have seen very little indication that people are ‘excited’ to buy a BlackBerry phone of any flavour. Certainly BlackBerry phones are selling but the company enjoys less than 1% of most markets. Assuming that this level of interest will translate into huge sales of a new android phone( and it will require huge sales to make the project a success) is a fatal mistake. Virtually the same mistake that BlackBerry made with my favourite tablet, the venerable PlayBook. There is no identifiable indicator, just because BlackBerry produces an android phone, that the masses will beat a path to the BlackBerry brand. With margins so low and sales to match, one must ask if BlackBerry would be better off investing in gold, other companies or real estate. And again, don’t forget that these mythical sales are to be made in the face of a ‘ship storm’ of negative blogs, articles and rumours, all aimed at convincing the buyer that BlackBerry is dead.

        BlackBerry has billions of dollars invested in BB10. It is a vastly superior O.S. and delivers an experience unmatched by other phones. It deserves to succeed and, given time, it will. But if the new android phone is used as an example of a failing company trying to raise a little cash before it finally goes under, it will be the end of BlackBerry phones altogether. This could be a very unfortunate unwanted consequence and could be the end of a superior line of phones and a superior operating system.

        But it could happen. Remember Betamax.

        • Brad

          2- again, the issue the ‘big boys’ are having is that they planned for more sales than they are getting. We know how this goes all too well because of what happened with the Z10s and Q10s. By the standards BlackBerry is currently selling, they are selling huge amounts of phones. The big difference that is in our favor, is BlackBerry doesn’t need to sale that scale of phones to be profitable. I think we’re on the cusp of seeing the device side become profitable. And I think an android will help get us there.

          3- look at the non- BlackBerry sites (I’m not talking about N4) and you’ll see a lot of interest. I don’t think all those interested will purchase, just as we don’t all run out and buy every BlackBerry, even if we want to, but I think we’ll see healthy sales. And again, I don’t believe we need to see huge sales to be a success. Running stock android, is minimal cost, the BlackBerry Experience Suite is already built and budgeted to BES, so it costs nothing to slap it on a BlackBerry produced Android. And with manufacturers such as Foxxcon, and small production runs, there is limited risk. The only real cost as far as development would be the design of the hardware, which I’m hoping we’ll see a BB10 version as well, and then we can completely justify that cost.

          • TRUENORTH

            “The big difference that is in our favor, is BlackBerry doesn’t need to sale that scale of phones to be profitable.”

            You are beginning to see the light! If the android guys are not making a sustainable profit on each phone they why would we expect BlackBerry to do better? Foxxcon may be a low cost manufacturing alternative but each phone will cost BlackBerry precious cash regardless.Especially under the conditions of the ‘blogger effect’ discussed earlier. An android BlackBerry will further fragment the BlackBerry market; it will be seen as an abandonment of the BB10 system ( and people will be helped to see it that way) and will cost considerable scarce cash in the development and sale of a phone that few will risk buying from a ‘dead BlackBerry’ company.

            • Brad

              And there is where we differ the most!

              If, and it’s a big if, all the rumors are true, then the android slider will be arriving in carrier stores, and will show people that BlackBerry ISN’T dead. Perception is everything, and this phone may help break the perception.

              I’m sure I’m not alone in that nearly every day, I change someone’s perception. We, as a group, tend to walk around with our phones out, allowing other people to see them, and when people ask, and they do, we educate them as to the truth about BlackBerry. (and if we’re not doing that, we should). To suddenly have these phones in carrier stores and retailers that haven’t been offering BlackBerry, and showing those that think BlackBerry is dead, that it’s alive and kicking, is more than worth it to me.

              From a retailer’s perspective, if you’ve been burned on a product, do you get the next year’s model? Of course you don’t. Did BlackBerry find a way to flip the retailers in to giving them another chance? That’s what I’m thinking.

  • Anthony

    Only BB10 can get rid if the “BBOS stigma” you talked about. A BlackBerry android device would do nothing for BB10.

    Launching a BlackBerry android could have the same effect on BB10 as when media reported “rumours” of BlackBerry exploring a sale.

    Powerful BB10 devices and an outstanding full-featured BB10 OS is the better road. Confidence in BB10.

    What about selling BlackBerry Experience apps for all android devices. Sell the BB10 keyboard app in Amazon and Google Play.

    • ray689

      I see what you are saying Anthony but the reality is BB10 is already fully featured. More fully featured than most that require apps to do the simple things BB10 can do out of the box. What average consumers consider fully featured is apps sadly.

      If BlackBerry can bring the apps and build their name back up while working on whatever the other solution Chen was talking about to close the app gap then they could very well release a BB10 device after and those same consumers who may have bought the android device because apps were now available would buy it.

      Why? Because most have no clue what OS their device runs let alone what an OS actually is. All they know is they have apps.

      • Anthony

        BB10 needs more features and polishing. Take a look a the Web page BlackBerry made asking people what they’d like to see in upcoming BB10 upgrades. The list is long and growing. I submitted my ‘2 cents’.

        The “average consumer” responds to advertising and how carrier store salespeople present a device.

        BlackBerry selling only BB10 devices and making products like BlackBerry Experience and a BlackBerry keyboard app for the android market is less confusing for everyone. A “more secure android device” for all android OS devices.

  • johnadeleon

    Number 1, Samsung didn’t do well with their “regular” phone. They’re selling the hell out of the Edge. There are things to look at… but the most important being if everyone would stop getting scared at every rumor and render tossed out there, BlackBerry would be better off! The best thing is to continue supporting the phone of our choice, buy the apps/support t devs and do what you can with positivity!

  • Robert

    I don’t think Chen is looking at selling this device to the average user but trying to pick up more enterprise sales instead. This would help spread the word and when combined with the media that he’ll get should get others interested. My concern with this device is that everyone will try and hack the OS to make a name for themselves.

    What could BlackBerry have up their sleeve to prevent this?

  • Blackjack

    My hope and wish is that they are reserving BlackBerry 10 for enterprise and the consumer that appreciates it.

    Then maybe they make a secured android with the blackberry productivity suite to lure people into BlackBerry that would not otherwise come, a play for the consumer market. It’s the only thing that makes sense and the only thing that would make everyone happy.

    Bam.

    • Brad

      Agreed

    • Judy

      Agreed as well! Hey Blackjack how r u? It’s been a while! Hope you are doing well. Ciao

      • Blackjack

        Judy!! Good to see you always. Been right here – why aren’t you in our forum?

        We need some cheers.

  • nnik

    Gonna run outa dead horses to flog

    • Anthony

      The last podcast was not about beating a dead horse. It was bruising the Apple. locco_smiley_34

      • Brad

        Lmfao!

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