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BlackBerry CSO Explains The Wait To Hop On Android

November 6, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

BlackBerry hasn’t been forgotten, people still recognize the branding even now, even if they’ve been using another platform for years, and perhaps it’s because much of their early days as a smartphone owner were populated with BlackBerry devices. Phones that helped to usher in mobile emails and browsing on the internet before the touchscreen phones of today. BlackBerry isn’t forgotten but they have been declining for years now, and much of it has to do with the competition from rival OS platforms like Android. With so much popularity for Google’s OS there was less and less market share for BlackBerry to snag, but things could change for the Canadian company now that they have just launched their first-ever Android powered smartphone, the PRIV, which has hit BlackBerry’s online web store and AT&T stores nationwide. The major question for many is what took them so long, and what was the reason for waiting until now?

BlackBerry’s Chief Security Officer, David Kleidermacher, explains some specifics in regards to why BlackBerry didn’t make the switch to using Android as an OS sooner, because this is certainly something that customers have wanted well before now. Part of it has to do with the fact that BlackBerry never saw the platform as mature enough until Google launched Android 5.0 Lollipop. For BlackBerry, this was the turning point in where they really saw Android as a finished platform that they could use a starting point for building a BlackBerry device. Kleidermacher states that they “didn’t want to just build another Android device.” The company was certainly interested in utilizing the Android platform, but it wanted to be sure Android was at the right spot for them to begin, and they wanted to make sure that the “BlackBerry” portion of it was still a front and center focus feature for consumers.

Another reason falls upon security, or according to BlackBerry, the lack thereof, prior to Android 5.0. Before Lollipop, Android just didn’t have the security that BlackBerry was looking for to lend the BlackBerry brand (as security is something BlackBerry prides itself on) to the OS, with Kleidermacher stating that in earlier version of Android “it was very difficult to validate the integrity of the entire Android system; it would be painful to do that without Android being smart about it internally.” These are valid points from BlackBerry and certainly makes it more understandable as to why they have waited so long. They didn’t feel the system was quite ready to build off of, at least, not from their own perspective.