BlackBerry hopes to save itself by launching a new Android smartphone

BlackBerry finally succumbs to Android. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

BlackBerry finally succumbs to Android. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Android

BlackBerry could finally turn to Android in an attempt to save itself having failed to gain any traction with its BlackBerry 10 platform over the past two years.

A new report claims the Canadian company is working on a new “slider” device with a retractable physical keyboard.

Citing “four sources familiar with the matter,” Reuters reveals that BlackBerry will use the move to prove its BES12 platform, which allows corporate and government clients to manage not only BlackBerry devices, but also those powered by rivals, can be just as secure on Android.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen is said to be banking on BES12 as software and services, as opposed to hardware, become pivotal to BlackBerry’s success.

“BlackBerry will probably use Android on an upcoming slider device that is likely to be released this autumn,” two sources told Reuters. “The slider will combine a touch screen with a physical keyboard that users can use if they prefer.”

BlackBerry showed off a slider device at Mobile World Congress back in February, but it did not reveal any of its specifications at the time. However, the device appeared to be running BB10, so it’s unclear whether BlackBerry will produce two variants or just swap its software entirely.

BlackBerry has already been relying on Android apps to keep BB10 users happy. It has struggled to attract developers to its platform, and so its latest devices now come with the Amazon Appstore pre-installed, and allow users to install Android APKs incredibly easily.

It’s unclear at this point whether BlackBerry plans to persevere with BB10 on new devices, or whether it could switch to Android completely for future hardware.