back to article Have it all: BlackBerry to port crown jewels to iPhone, Android

At the Mobile World Congress in 2015, BlackBerry said it would port key client platform features – like its soft keyboard, Universal Search and Hub – to iPhone and Android, and also throw them into its enterprise software bundles. It marks a huge leap along BlackBerry’s transition to a software services company – but CEO John …

  1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Thin margins

    If it takes 10 million units to ship before you stand a chance of making a profit, margins must be darn close to zero.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thin margins

      "The biggest impact is likely to be on Microsoft"

      Yes, they probably can't stop laughing seeing as Windows Phone had a 26% share of UK enterprise device sales recently at the direct expense of Blackberry which is rapidly heading towards zero. Apparently things have got so bad that the latest Blackberry devices play "Nearer, My God, To Thee" as the default ringtone...

  2. Big Ed

    About Time!!!

    it's about time that BB realized that people valued BB for software and not hardware. I love my iPhone and I love BB's Calendering and eMail capability.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: About Time!!!

      I love my BB classic both because of its physical keyboard (can't stand touch ones) and because it's software works very well for what I'm using it (messaging mostly, plus few less intrusive apps)

  3. DrXym Silver badge

    Should have made Android handsets in the first place

    Blackberry already port and maintain an Android compatibility layer in BB10 because there are so few native apps. They might as well just go the whole hog and be running proper Android. They can still harden it, and skin it and use security / business friendliness as their unique selling point. But at least then people will be interested in buying it.

    1. Ken 16 Bronze badge

      Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

      Only if they can reproduce the BB10 UI

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

        1) I don't see why they couldn't reproduce the BB10 UI

        2) Not sure why they'd want to as it's hardly been a roaring success

        1. Levente Szileszky

          Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

          Clearly you have no idea about either of them, forget development basics...

      2. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

        "Only if they can reproduce the BB10 UI"

        I see no issue with that.

        The issue at present is they're basically maintaining two operating systems - their BB10 native OS which gets little love and an Android emulation layer which is basically all of the userland Android with thunks.

        What's the point of this complexity? None. They could do the UI over android. They could security harden the kernel and do all the stuff which BB is known for but without all the overhead. And they'd sell a lot more phones.

    2. sinfocomar

      Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

      They thought about it... project was too expensive and they couldn't be sure Android would be as secure or if they could even diferentiate in an already crowded market. Blackberry 10 was the way to go...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

      They might as well just go the whole hog and be running proper Android. They can still harden it

      Pics or it didn't happen.

      Perhaps BB have already investigated and decided that Android just can't be hardened to BB standards. I would believe that.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

        "Perhaps BB have already investigated and decided that Android just can't be hardened to BB standards. I would believe that."

        I wouldn't because it's nonsense. If that were their opinion then why put an android layer in there at all?

        Anyway Samsung has KNOX for Android so its clearly feasible to security harden Linux. In fact BB is already very chummy with Samsung to the point that I could see the things ending up in a buyout and BB becoming a brand of Samsung running over Android anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

          I wouldn't because it's nonsense. If that were their opinion then why put an android layer in there at all?

          It is an Android emulation layer, and because it is running in QNX it is sandboxed. It doesn't have any direct connections, only what are allowed through by design. Personally I don't run anything Android on my BB, I have a second phone for that, but I am sure that BlackBerry and QNX between them have done some careful hardening. It's basically like running a VM in a hypervisor so you can play with viruses without fear of contamination.

          As for KNOX, it's rather suspicious that BlackBerry now seem to be working with Samsung on improving it, which suggests that Android security wasn't as easy as Samsung thought. I doubt Samsung will take them over because my experience of Samsung is that internally they have a desire to show that they can come up with a Samsung solution (like Tizen) rather than buy in.

          The company which I think might want to acquire or merge with BlackBerry is Nokia. It won't be long before they can get back in the phone business, and they would be politically acceptable to the Canadian government.

        2. Levente Szileszky

          Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

          Thinking Android just another linux the be hardened clearly shows you don't really know the underlying issues... :P

          It's not and BB did its homework initially and they probably said it's too costly - that clearly has changed now, that Samsung is willing to pick up some of the tab. It's not a surprise for me as KNOX was a HUGE FLOP for Samsung, no wonder they are abandoning it. They had no clue abotu the subject, they just went into it with the usual arrogantly clueless approach ("we can do everything too")...

          As far as I can tell it turned out to be a costly adventure for Samsung, with no clue beyond trying to imitate some of BB's security portfolio, launching it without doing the appropriate research FIRST - for starter, they have no control over Android, whenever Google farts and the wind changes they have to rewrite a lot of stuff, they have no secure network with PoPs globally etc etc.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should have made Android handsets in the first place

      QNX is a much nicer base software than Linux. It may not be as popular or well supported but it's proper Unix.

      It's a RTOS and so perfect for a interactive device like a phone.

  4. John Sanders
    Holmes

    What about...

    Making a blackberry model that runs Android, and let us run a custom ROM?...

    Because I would buy one of these.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: What about...

      All modern BB10 devices run Android apps natively ...

  5. John Sanders

    Remark

    “crown jewels”...

    BBM was a "crown jewel" when 90% of the market wasn't using whatsapp, hangouts, imessage, viber, line and so on.

  6. NoOneSpecific

    Obligatory

    http://youtu.be/JSUIQgEVDM4

  7. JLV

    blue sky-ing a bit...

    Totally speaking out of my nether orifice but wouldn't a real Exchange contender be something useful here? I mean, Exchange seems to be one of the primary reasons folks put forward to justify keeping Windows, BB has the name recognition to be an instant contender, they know how to integrate with it, know a hell of a lot about what it needs to do and it would segue very well with the rest of this type of strategy.

    "BBX" on Windows, Linux and OSX, anyone?

    Caveats: I may be misreading this entirely and I know BB has very little money to spare.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: blue sky-ing a bit...

      "Exchange seems to be one of the primary reasons folks put forward to justify keeping Windows"

      + Active Directory, Lync, SharePoint, etc, etc, etc....

  8. RAMChYLD

    Full circle

    I remember running Documents To Go on my PalmOS 5.2-based Sony Clie back in '01, and on my Nokia N97 back in '09 as well. Good ol' days. Glad Blackberry has seen the light and decided to make it multi-platform again.

  9. Big Ed

    About Time!!!

    Great to see that BB has figured out that the true value of BB's IP is software and not hardware. I can't wait for BB's superior Calendering function for my iPhone; no more waiting to get online to see Free/Busies.

  10. Levente Szileszky

    The Hub on Android, Hallelujah!

    Seriously, there's NOTHING comparable on Android when it comes to having a central, unified communication hub (and iOS is downright ridiculous, simply horribly useless.)

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