BlackBerry launched the BlackBerry Priv in India yesterday as BlackBerry India Managing Director Narendra Nayak and Damian Tay, Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Product Management at BlackBerry introduced the company’s first Android-powered smartphone at an event held at the Oberoi in New Delhi.
While the event was no suprise, what was a bit of a surprise was Damian Tay’s comments in an interview with ET.
For the first time a BlackBerry executive and has come out and said that, in time, BlackBerry will indeed be dropping their own BlackBerry 10 OS.
“The PRIV device is essentially our transition to Android ecosystem. As we secure Android, over a period of time, we would not have two platforms, and may have only Android as a platform ,”
“But for now, we have BB10 and Android platforms for our smartphones.”
While Tay uses the word “may”, the fact that he states that BlackBerry are transitioning to Android (no surprise there) and that they would not have two platforms really makes the word “may” redundant.
There has been much speculation/debate amongst BlackBerry users on the future of BlackBerry 10 OS and opinions are diverse. Many see the writing on the wall for the OS, while others blindly believe that if Android smartphones are profitable for BlackBerry, this will induce them to produce more BlackBerry 10 devices.
Meanwhile Tay states that the future is Android,
“The future is really Android. We went for Android essentially for its app ecosystem. In addition, all the enterprise solutions that we have been doing have been cross-platform for a long time now. So it’s a natural progression towards Android,” Tay said.
According to Tay, BlackBerry will continue to sell BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Tay said several governments and their departments use BB10-powered smartphones, which is primarily why BlackBerry will continue producing these smartphones and support them.
“If we stop selling, then the government that relies on them would be in a fix,” he said. The company plans to transform these governments and authorities with new Android devices going ahead.
“Essentially, there is a transition which is happening, wherein the company is looking to get certifications and clearances from these governments for the Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone,” he added.
BlackBerry have been extremely carfeul with their wording regarding BlackBerry 10. We know that there will be two updates to the OS this year and both of these will revolve around security updates. Therefore, it is quite a surprise to see a BlackBerry exec come out and literally admit what many see as the obvious.
My personal opinion was/is that BlackBerry would be shrinking the BlackBerry 10 OS and producing the most secure, closed operating system that existed, probably in 2017.
Whether Tay has been misquoted “several times” and we see BlackBerry once again returning to their blogs to explain what somebody from BlackBerry actually meant to say remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure, Tay’s comments will simply add fuel to the fire that BlackBerry 10 is going to be dying slowly.