AH Primetime: BlackBerry Won’t Ever Run Android and Here’s Why

September 26, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

BlackBerry is often considered the pioneer of the smartphone and productivity trend that we all are proudly a part of.  They were one of the first to make typing on a physical keyboard to compose an email on the go from meeting to office desk, and make the device stylish and palmable.  Years later, the company has taken its boldest move, and we know it as the BlackBerry Passport.  The phone is great internally, with similar specifications to the LG Nexus 5, which is not a slouch in anyone’s mind.  But, with the great name that is BlackBerry comes something else, and that’s security.  BlackBerry controls its own servers for your information, as well as both the hardware and software on each and every device they manufacture and sell.

But, with some of the interesting developments in cross-hardware software capabilities such as the HTC One M8 for Windows, why doesn’t BlackBerry, one of the kings of hardware quality, team up with Google to make an Android-clad BlackBerry handset?  Well, the same reason people buy BlackBerries in the first place: security.  Or at least that’s what the COO of BlackBerry claims. Imagine a Blackberry Bold, with its physical keyboard and trackpad, running Android.  Even if it were an older version, like 4.3, Jelly Bean, or something, it would still be an enhanced experience.  You’d have BlackBerry’s hardware and design, known for ergonomics, powered by Google’s operating system, accessing the G-Suite of apps and services, as well as BlackBerry’s own.  Why would that never happen though, according to the COO?

Well, Marty Beard, the COO of BlackBerry, says it’s because they couldn’t maintain the amount or depth of security that BlackBerry proudly offers in its devices.  BlackBerry lets you remotely locate and lock a device, as well as having AES 256-bit encryption on the entire system.  Android can’t come close to that, and that’s why BlackBerry avoids Android.  But, the issue lies not only in BlackBerry having that security and Android not. Another reason, and the more reasonable one if you ask me, is the targeting of attacks through software.  Yes, this is the malware argument again.  Apple played this card, or slide technically, at its developers’ conference to show how iPhone users aren’t targeted by malicious software (or susceptible to the software, maybe it was the second one, but regardless).  BlackBerry claims correctly that most digital assaults on servers and devices for data are done on Android devices.  That’s simply because, for a hacker, it’s a much smarter choice, since Android is more popular among both the casual and professional user whose information is always great to get.

More evil software is able to get through Google’s apparently not-very-thorough searching before being put in the Play Store, though they have cracked down both on duplicate apps and on malicious/false apps.  The core of Android itself is also getting tighter in security, since the various Kit Kat iterations, from 4.4 to 4.4.4, have been software improvements for the Nexus family of devices as well as security fixes to repair vulnerabilities in the code and software.  But as many people have said, nobody’s perfect.  BlackBerry won’t ever use Android (as of now that’s their standpoint anyway), and that’s no skin off Google’s back. Android will keep on succeeding, as will iOS, and BlackBerry might not ever be able to reclaim much or any of its previous fame and market share.  Genuinely sad to say, but that’s the cycle of technology. Have you ever used a BlackBerry, or the new Passport?  What made BlackBerry fall from grace, do you think?  What, if anything, do you think might be able to convince BlackBerry to consider running Android on a future handset?  Let us know down below.