BlackBerry has been in the news lately, mostly due to the company’s nostalgic name and rumors that BB would eventually be sold to another manufacturer. At one point, sellout rumors were high until BlackBerry was acquired by a Canadian bank. Rumors persisted (though more quietly than before), but Samsung was named to be a buyout savior some weeks ago. The rumor fell through, but BlackBerry and Samsung did seem to hint that the two were working on a smartphone – together.
Well, it seems as though the BlackBerry Android phone rumors are true. A new photo leak, courtesy of Evan Blass (aka Twitter member @Evleaks) shows a BlackBerry Android smartphone that has not only Google’s usual apps that are pre-loaded onto most Android smartphones (except those such as the Amazon Fire Phone and others with a “forked” version of Android), such as Google Drive, Google Keep, Google Maps, Google Chrome, Google Play Camera, Google+, Google Calendar, Google Search, Google Hangouts, and Google’s Play Store. What is interesting to find, however, is the inclusion of Microsoft’s Bing search engine along with Skype.
The setup mimics what one finds on any of Google’s Nexus smartphones, including the Nexus 6, which leads us to believe that BlackBerry’s Android phone is more than just a drawing concept or myth at this point. The “BlackBerry” branding is at the top of the phone (and further away in the photo from the bottom-row apps), making it harder to see but still somewhat noticeable. There is no sign of a QWERTY slideout keyboard, which is one of the rumors leaked into the wild some weeks ago about a potential BB Android phone.
What will be noticeable, however, is the smartphone’s form factor. The BlackBerry Android phone pictured here, codenamed “Venice” according to Evleaks (we don’t know if this will be the real name of the device), bears a striking resemblance to Samsung’s Galaxy S6 edge – with an “edge” on both sides of the smartphone. Could this become the “BlackBerry edge”? Most consumers don’t know it, but Samsung never patented the word “edge,” which is why the word isn’t technically capitalized. Could this patent loophole allow Samsung to bring another smartphone to market bearing the “edge” form factor that’s made the Korean manufacturer (and may make the nostalgic Canadian manufacturer) successful?
We have no details on the BlackBerry “Venice” Android smartphone for now, but we do like the wide speakers that mimic HTC’s One series, along with the edges. Evleaks says that this phone is “quite the looker” (and we agree), but it’s headed to AT&T if the rumors are right, meaning that you need not look at it for too long unless you long to be an AT&T customer. BlackBerry would be making a Samsung-like move here since the Korean manufacturer has also taken its water and dust-resistant Galaxy S6 Active to AT&T. That alone may be another indication that Samsung’s working with BlackBerry on this phone.
It will be a nice change from BlackBerry’s own operating system, but an exclusive at this point in the game could hurt the phone when it hasn’t even arrived on the market yet. Keep in mind that Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are available on all major carriers worldwide and it’s likely that Samsung and BlackBerry have reached a non-competitive agreement about the BlackBerry edge, if that does indeed become the smartphone’s name; the agreement would prevent sales of the BB edge from eclipsing or cannibalizing sales of Samsung’s own current edge smartphone – which would explain the AT&T carrier exclusivity.
What do you think? Would you like to see a BlackBerry phone with Samsung’s “edge” form factor? Are you interested in purchasing this smartphone, AT&T customers? Would you like to see it available on all carriers? We await your comments below.