BlackBerry has launched the PRIV smartphone in India, which is essentially BlackBerry’s attempt to transition to the Android platform, reports ET. Speaking to ET, Damian Tay, APAC product manager at BlackBerry said that “As we secure Android, over a period of time, we would not have two platforms, and may have only Android as a platform (for smartphones).”
Tay further mentioned that BlackBerry would launch two more Android devices devices in India priced below the PRIV, which currently costs Rs 62,990. Note that at CES this year, BlackBerry said it would continue to invest in BlackBerry 10, but did not commit to launching new BB10 devices. On the other hand, the company specified that it would develop another Android-based smartphone.
Long time coming: It makes sense for BlackBerry to move away from its own proprietary OS to Android. The company has been failing for a while, with its devices hardly finding any users outside of the hardcore BlackBerry fans. BlackBerry did a pretty decent job with BB10 as an OS, however, its major failing was the lack of an app ecosystem. The platform essentially faced a Catch-22 situation – it didn’t have enough users for developers to want to develop apps, while there weren’t enough apps for users to want to adopt the platform.
Other developments: In May last year, BlackBerry said it was in discussions with the regulatory authorities and telecom operators in India to launch a virtual SIM solution by the end of 2015. The solution would let users use as many as nine mobile numbers through a single SIM card. Note that Blackberry had acquired Movirtu, a provider of virtual identity solutions for mobile operators in September 2014.
In July 2014, the company was planning to launch a health care services platform in India, which would allow integration of medical devices which will aid early detection of illnesses. The same year, the company had bought a minority stake in the privately-held healthcare IT firm NantHealth for an undisclosed amount. However, there have been no updates from the company on any of these projects since.