BlackBerry, A Better Android than Android

“A better Android than Android” was a battle cry used by defenders of BlackBerry in various online platform battles. With PRIV and DTEK50, BlackBerry has officially done just that. And Quadrooter proves it.

It seems so long ago. The times that I spent in other forums and comments arguing for my favorite platform of mobile phone. During that time, there was one wild forum dweller that started a chant. The chant was “a better Android than Android”. The chant was very divisive. Those of us in the BB10 fan camp agreed, and kept the chant alive. The chant acted as bait for those BB10 naysayers who would come charging to argue against the chant.

I still say the chant was true. I still say that at that time, BB10 was a better Android than Android. At that point, BlackBerry had really opened up the Android run time in BB10. The days of having to side-load Android apps was behind us. We could now install those apps directly from various app stores, and the Amazon App Store came preloaded on our phones. At that point, regardless of what those BB10 naysayers said, most Android apps ran very well on our phones. All but the Google apps that required Google Play Services. In all honesty, I didn’t need those apps. It was no loss. I was able to download and use all the apps I needed on my trusty BlackBerry Z10. In fact, I ran in to more issues finding apps that would run on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet than I did finding apps that would run on my Z10. With my Samsung Galaxy Tablet running a full official version of Android, it seemed as if I was always running in to the dreaded “this app is not available for your device” message. Add to this the fact that BB10 ran these android apps in a sandbox, scanned these apps before installation, and outside of those apps, you had a BB10 phone with all it’s out of the box goodness and the Hub! Indeed, BlackBerry 10 was a better Android than Android. And those that say it wasn’t? They’re wrong.

But times have changed. Google has moved Android along. Those of us on modern Android phones are now on the ridiculously named Marshmallow (6.0). We are awaiting the equally ridiculously named Nouget (7.0). Google has pushed developers to include Google Play Services on all their apps. We all know that most these apps don’t need this, but it’s a way for Google to ensure that these apps are only available to phones which Google approves of. BB10 phones are something which Google does not approve of. The BB10 android run time is sadly stuck a few versions behind. The biggest change of course, is the BlackBerry PRIV and the BlackBerry DTEK50.

BlackBerry is now producing full fledged Android phones. Two of them in fact, with two more on the way. So how do they measure up? Is BlackBerry still a better Android than Android?

BlackBerry’s first attempt at an Android phone did something which no other Android OEM has done before. BlackBerry secured Android. Now some will tell you that they didn’t do anything new. Some will say that other OEM’s had already secured Android. Some will point to things like the Black Phone and Samsung Knox. Some equate encryption with security. Well, truth be told, it’s part of it. But it’s not all that’s needed.

BlackBerry has utilized full disk encryption. BlackBerry has used a hardened kernel. BlackBerry has created a hardware root of trust, and a secure boot. Do I know exactly what all this is? Of course not. I actually know very little on the technical side of what BlackBerry has done. You see, I’m not a very technical guy. But there are some things I do know. Samsung Knox security works by locking down the phone. Very much like how enterprises handled BlackBerry devices back in the 90’s. It’s not the 90’s anymore folks, and the Priv and DTEK50 don’t require aspects to be locked down to increase the security. The Black Phone’s security is based on having everything encrypted and communications going through a VPN to another Black Phone. Black Phone users had best be good at selling their friends on Black Phone, or else there’s not much of a point.

We can look at security in very many ways. If I’m looking at hardware security, I’m going to look at one very basic aspect. Has the phone been rooted? Can the phone be rooted? If it can be rooted, then there is a vulnerability there that has not been fixed. There’s a vulnerability that can be exploited, and has been. It means that there is a method for malware to take your phone over. Most importantly, it means that the phone is not secure. Samsungs are rooted everyday. In fact there are many out there that love to root their phones and tinker with them. That’s all well and good, but we also know that those that tinker aren’t to concerned about the security of the phone. I am. The Black Phone was very publicly rooted. There is only one phone manufacturer that has produced an Android phone that hasn’t been rooted yet. And that’s BlackBerry.

But we have seen even this put at risk recently. The Quadrooter vulnerability left the top phones in the mobile landscape open to various attacks which could result in phones being rooted. The vulnerability was based in the drivers for Qualcomm chipsets, and our BlackBerry Android devices were affected alongside other devices like the latest Nexus and Samsung Galaxy phones.

This is the moment that we had been dreading. The moment we hoped wouldn’t come, but we knew would. The moment that a vulnerability was discovered that would affect our beloved BlackBerry phones. The fact of the matter is, vulnerabilities happen. They just do. And no device will ever be immune to having vulnerabilities discovered. Although BlackBerry came damned close with BB10. But we all know that at some point, even our BlackBerry devices will be affected. How do we judge when a vulnerability is discovered, or an exploit happens that affects ‘us’ as equally as ‘them’? We judge by how the threat is handled.

Google has been very good as of late about addressing security concerns in monthly security patches. BlackBerry has been the best at pushing these patches out to users. There is no other OEM that has beat BlackBerry in pushing these patches out.

The Quadrooter was a different story though. As stated before, this was a vulnerability located in the drivers for the Qualcomm chipset. What this means is that this vulnerability needed to be patched by Qualcomm. And they did. They patched the vulnerabilities and sent these patches to their partners. Those partners being anyone that uses Qualcomm chipsets in their devices. The first three patches for the four vulnerabilities were ready in time for Google’s August security patch that went off without a hitch. Well, without a hitch for those OEM’s that also push out the patches to their users. There’s not many, but BlackBerry is one. Typically the first one.

One vulnerability remained unpatched. It arrived too late for Google to include in the August patch, and they have promised it will be there in the September patch. This might just be good enough. Then again, it might not be. Although the Quadrooter vulnerabilities made big news because of just how many devices were affected, there was not any known exploits found in the wild. Not yet anyway. And hopefully not before September when Google releases the patch. And hopefully not before the various OEM’s send this patch to their users. Well, if they ever do.

What is good enough for Google, and what is good enough for OEM’s that are awaiting Google’s patch, was not good enough for BlackBerry. BlackBerry took it upon themselves not to wait, and pushed this patch out to it’s users. BlackBerry was the first to patch the Quadrooter vulnerabilities for its users.

The BlackBerry Priv and DTEK50 are running a near stock version of Android, on top of BlackBerry security. The devices come with the amazing BlackBerry Hub, Calendar, keyboard and Tasks which all BlackBerry users know and love, pre-installed. And most important of all, when users are put at risk, BlackBerry actually cares enough to race in to action to protect the user.

There’s just no argument anymore. The answer is clear.

BlackBerry has made a better Android than Android.



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.

  • Anthony

    BlackBerry Android is the ‘poor man’s or woman’s’ BB10 locco_smiley_24

    Google is based on exploiting and mining user information. Its existence is rooted on that business model. Hemdroids will never escape the collective. You have been assimilated. locco_smiley_36

    • Nayalm

      “Poorman’s BB10” lol
      And in the Gamma Quadrant CrApple might reduce production of Ketracel-WHITE. But does their Jem’ Hadars(iIdiot) have anything to say about it……..NOT A WORD! lmfao.

  • Wayno

    @BlackBerry This is why I choose BlackBerry and only BlackBerry when it comes to my mobile phones.

  • razrrob

    Quadrooter is an interesting vulnerability. While it affected many phones (reportedly up to 600,000) there have been no reported hacks.

    Hats off to BlackBerry for tackling a theoretical vulnerability and looking out for it’s customers.

    That’s more than the folks from Cupertino would do for you

  • itsmeveer

    It’s a great article …but Android by BlackBerry is just Android with few BlackBerry features.

    We all know that the device business by BlackBerry is not going good enough to sell well so coming up to the market with tag of being the most ‘Secure Android’ is just pure Marketing to catch the eye of people and sell it well to their enterprises customers as security matters to them most rather then normal consumers. Which I feel is good as a business point for BlackBerry to stay in device business.

    But what hurts the most is the dishonesty they show towards their customers and bb10. We all know bb10 is as good as dead (even many would still won’t admit it) but BlackBerry has never come out and said it in public yet even after dropping support they sell bb10 devices like passport, classic, why?

    Why we as a customer trust a company which doesn’t even bold enough to come out and say the truth. Whatsapp gone, Facebook, Blend, still if they say they are ‘Committed to bb10 ‘ in what sense. Making fool to their loyal fan base who have trusted them through their thick and thin. Iphone might be less secure then BlackBerry but still I have full trust in apple as they won’t disappoint their customers. BlackBerry is just good in lying. BB10 died bcoz Co. Itself didn’t know how to marketize #BB10. OS didn’t fail BlackBerry and Chen killed bb10 and choose Android.

    One more thing which hurts is: when BlackBerry showed a glimpse of Priv back in 2015, they would have come out and say we are ending BB10 as Android will be our next OS. That would have been honest from BlackBerry and we wouldn’t invest buying OS which was dying. In recent interview they claim that we give customers to choose between android and bb10 that’s another b*ll**it statment made by BlackBerry. Come on BlackBerry stop lying.

    I have no problem BlackBerry going android but they should be little transparent to their loyal fan who pour hard earn money in buying a dead OS device.

    • Brad

      You know Veer, you included me in a few of your Twitter rants a few days back, which got me to look at your stream. First of all, your comments about BlackBerry Android is wrong. It is quite obvious you haven’t tried BlackBerry Android. You should. Perhaps you’d stop being so angry.

      Secondly, take some time, and ask yourself, your attacks on BlackBerry via social media and now site comments, are you helping? Do you think this will help convince others to buy BlackBerry? Of course not. You’re adding to the problem. You’re turning others away.

      You’re attacking BlackBerry and Chen based on your own fears and assumptions. Personally, I don’t understand why you choose to listen to and believe BlackBerry trolls instead of BlackBerry. Makes no sense. I can’t stop you from doing that. But I can ask you to not do it here.

    • nnik

      Why would a company lay out its plans to their own detriment? How do you think stock holders would feel about that?

  • Nayalm

    in this article Brad said “BlackBerry has made a better Android than Android”
    To me a regular BB10’er i read it: BlackBerry (STILL MAKES) a better Google Android than GOOGLE ANDROID!
    A question to Google after BlackBerry did it again: HOW IS THIS STILL A THING???

    • CabbagePatch_D

      Last Week Tonight reference… Nice.

  • itsmeveer

    Brad, first of all am not bashing you or hitting your blogs. Don’t take it personally, please I request you.

    I got Priv about one and half month back used for more then a week and gave it to my dad. Back to my passport again. So I know android offered by BlackBerry, I am not posting my comments without trying the device.

    I am just asking why BlackBerry is not honest about the decisions they take, did they hinted us for going android when they showed the priv for the first time ?? Even after the glimpse they kept on denying Android device Priv unless it came out as surprise.

    Yes am angry, upset, fraustated by the Company, I started with Torch2(9810) followed by z10, Q10, Z30 and then Passport Black. I invested in bb10 bcoz I trusted BlackBerry, I kept my hope alive even when the rumors were floating that Priv would run Android. I still trusted BlackBerry, what they did? If Android was their path and they would dump bb10 I wouldn’t have invested in Passport or z30.

    Surely I don’t have high followers on social media but I will surely express my views and anger on them. You don’t want I won’t post my views here. But that’s the truth. And it’s not me bashing BlackBerry it’s mostly every loyal fan views who invested in bb10 and didn’t choose to jump to androids.

    • Brad

      Let me correct some things.

      You’re saying BlackBerry is not being honest because of conjecture. And you’re wrong.

      BlackBerry never denied Android. In fact, Chen said he would make an Android device when he could secure an Android device, months before the Priv. The only people that denied it was within the BlackBerry community, not BlackBerry.

      BlackBerry said last year that this year would be all about Android and they weren’t giving up on BB10. Look, here we are in August, and guess what? It’s been a year of Android and they haven’t given up on BB10? How is this a lie? They said what they were doing and they stuck to it.

      Don’t be angry at BlackBerry because you either don’t remember what BlackBerry has told us, or you’re impatient, or just listening to those spreading lies, which you are echoing.

      By the way, Curve > Bold > Torch 9800 > Torch9810 > Z10 > Q5 > Passport > Priv > Classic. I’m currently using my Passport and Priv and daily drivers.

      And your story that BlackBerry Android is just regular Android couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • Nayalm

      Don’t be surprised that we”BB10fans” been pushed under the bus for the sake of shareholders, at least we’re with good good company of PlayBookfans, BISfans and God knows maybe maybe one day BBdroidfans.

      Money talks emotions walk!

      • itsmeveer

        Surely I can understand that!! Money talks emotion walks, I don’t have problem with BlackBerry going android but the way BlackBerry hiding things from their fans and still believe we support them that’s hurting.

        Where is 10.3.3?? It’s just maintenance security update, right? From March to now Aug, whereas Android by BlackBerry gets monthly update. That’s the commitment for bb10. We are committed to bb10 in words as for now we focus on android.

        • Brad

          That is proof that you don’t understand what is taking place. Your anger is based in that.

          10.3.3 is not a maintenance update. It is an update to get the entire OS NIAP certified. That certification comes from a third party and that is what we are waiting on. No one is happy about that wait.

          The monthly OS updates to BlackDroid are the Android security patches coming through from Google. The quadrooter security patch was a different thing, as I spoke about in the post.

          You are getting angry based on things that are wrong. Look, if you have questions, please go to forums and there are plenty of people there that can help. But to erupt in anger at BlackBerry on social media based on guesses where you do not have all the information is just wrong.

        • Nayalm

          You said it “maintenance security”
          So how bad is OS 10.3.2 crippling your productivity or giving you vulnerability to hacks and spyware or became buggy as hell?
          There is no rush to release this update, no quadrooter, no bricking for installing official apps and no privacy been compromised.
          It’s all in due time.
          Remember when CrApple used to brag that Macintosh has no viruses and the truth was no hacker gives a R**’* A** about Mac’s when Windows PC’s had the majority of the computer share. Look where they are now, getting bombarded in every product by hackers, shady governments, Google and Facebook lol.
          When there’s an imminent threat to BB10 ………who am i kidding hackers don’t have a chance in hell to give a r**’* a**.

    • nnik

      These things you’re accusing BlackBerry of saying were actually just rumours circulated by trolls

  • itsmeveer

    Well here BlackBerry showed Priv on MWC 2015 and Chen said on somewhere in June,

    “We only build secure phones, and BlackBerry is the most secure phone,” Chen said during an interview with CNBC. “So, if I can find a way to secure the Android phone, I will also build that.”

    Here is the link if you think It’s from my mind

    • Nayalm

      The link got “gsmarena”………..

    • Brad

      Uhm…. exactly. That was my point. There is no lie there.

      And Nayalm, BB10 fans and Blackdroid fans are not mutually exclusive. I’m both, although it took while for me to get there because even though I had bought a Priv, I wasn’t giving it a fair chance. I have a feeling Veer is doing the same thing I did.

      In the end, we’re BlackBerry fans. They’re all BlackBerry phones.

  • itsmeveer

    Brad this was your words I just corrected it

    ‘BlackBerry never denied Android. In fact, Chen said he would make an Android device when he could secure an Android device, months before the Priv.’

    BlackBerry didn’t even said yes we are going android which they already started before MWC2015, and even after that in every interview when asked about Android device ‘Chen, cleverly skip the question’ but never told Yes our next device is Android. Isn’t it a lie.?? People by that time buying Passport, Classic without knowing that BlackBerry will stop support on bb10 and go Android. That’s a lie from a company whom we as BlackBerryFan trusted.

    Yes we re all BlackBerryFan but is BlackBerry being loyal to us as we are to them. The answer is NO.

    • Brad

      Do you understand competition? Of course BlackBerry would not come out and say they are making an android phone before they are ready to show the android phone.

      Has Apple admitted that there will be no headphone jack yet? No. Because the phone is not ready to be released. Companies do not release all their information months before. That’s bad business.

      And no, BlackBerry has not said they will stop supporting BlackBerry 10 BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT STOPPED SUPPORTING BLACKBERRY 10!

      Stop saying that here. Stop spreading FUD. We are here to help if you want it. If you want to use us as a sounding board for mistruths then we’re not the site for you.

    • itsmeveer

      Well lets end the discussion I agree to disagree.

  • itsmeveer

    Brad, I have a request..

    Is it possible to add a feature to comment from the app itself as when I click the comment button it takes me to the browser, rather taking me to the browser can’t we just comment from the UTBBLOGS app??

    • Wayno

      @iamveer. Comments from the app itself has caused some problems that the developer is trying to sort out without much success. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem possible at this stage but we have been trying to get this sorted out.

      • Nayalm

        I wished if you went full CrApple CEO on that reply and just said:

  • itsmeveer

    BlackBerry choosed to go Android b’coz BB10 Devices were not selling well enough.
    Where was the fault?
    Was it the OS?
    Was it the apps?

    BlackBerry marketing strategy was all wrong, they always keep their eye only for enterprise sector, Govt. But not the consumers. why Android has captured most of the market, did they went for enterprises? No, they went for consumer. They gave popular apps in a cheap price phone which won’t last for more then a year and start to lag, hang.
    Did BlackBerry gone to the developers and ask them to develop apps like Instagram, snapchat, whatsapp, facebook, Spotify, Banking apps, transportation apps for bb10 platform and advertise it in large form things might have been different. ‘Hey we have all the apps as well as security to secure your data’. Things might be different.

    Advertising was one of the major drawback for the failure of bb10. Here in india I have never seen any ad on Z30, Classic, Leap or even Passport neither on any newspaper, tv commercial or even any holding on streets or anywhere. So how People will knew about it. Even the sales person on any store wouldn’t suggest for BlackBerry phones. They never concentrate on the consumer who loves the apps. They only went for enterprises, Govt. Etc.

    Even with the priv BlackBerry failed to come in market in India. This proves BlackBerry still learnt lesson from their failure

    BlackBerry lacks of vision on how to marketize and advertise bb10 failed to capture the market. So it’s not the OS which failed, it’s the company.

    • Brad

      You’re so off base. Yes, BlackBerry did have people courting app developers. Two sets. One group for big name apps, one set for the indi devs. Thanks to them we have the developers we have. Unfortunately it didn’t work with the big name apps. And most of us feel there was collusion there that stopped that from occurring. Look back at what developer relations was trying to do. They tried.

      And BlackBerry almost went under when they were trying for consumer. Had they continued down the path they were headed, that you say they should have, there’d be no BlackBerry today. BlackBerry is still recovering from attempting that move with the beginning of BB10.

      Do you have any idea how much a worldwide advertising campaign costs? BlackBerry would be out of business within a year. You want them to advertise the Priv in India? Talk about a waste of money. Marketing a very expensive phone in a market where the budget phone is king? I think it would be a waste. I also think marketing BB10 in the US would be a waste as there is no way they could afford a campaign that could stand against anything Apple or Samsung could do in this market.

      You’re ranting about things without doing any research. This has all been discussed at length over the last few years. Everything you’re bitching that they didn’t do would have sunk the company.

      Now I’m going to bed. I suggest you do some reading about all the hard work developer relations did. And read about how Facebook has been anti-bb since day one. And the biggest apps that have been detrimental to BlackBerry are facebook. Apps. Think about it.

  • CabbagePatch_D

    I do get Veer’s frustration because I’m one of those frustrated BlackBerry (BB10) users. Although I don’t think BlackBerry has openly lied, not yet anyway, I do think some of their actions are contrary to their words of commitment towards BB10. My biggest one right now is the fact that as a BlackBerry user, after waiting for what seems like years, I’m not able to video chat on BBM with my wife who uses an iPhone (much to my chagrin). I currently use Line Messenger app which btw is not even made available for BlackBerry in any of their “official” app stores yet it works for video chat and BBM doesn’t. locco_smiley_14

    I can’t really comment on Blackdroid as I haven’t used to any extent. I did try the early version of the Priv but I didn’t like it from the get go and haven’t tried it since.
    In any case I still do trust BlackBerry with my information over the alternative and BB10 as is does satisfy most of my mobile needs for the time being.