What if Blackberry 10 mobile Operating System was just a layer on top of Android?
We all know that Blackberry is a dying platform, mainly due to lack of apps and features that we have been accustomed to on other Smartphone platforms, however many Blackberry 10 (BB10) users tend to side load Android apps just to compromise. This makes me wonder why Blackberry can’t be just another Android Skin just like HTC’s sense and Samsung’s Touch Wiz? They could still port their great features over like peak, unified Inbox and even their user friendly Blackberry keyboard. I mean, nowadays you can find an oven or washing machine running Android am sure there is a way to make it work.
In my quest for knowledge about the question at hand, I found out that QNX (BB10) and Android are very closely related to the way their kernels work, in that they are kind of “plug and play”. I have personally sideloaded Android apps on Blackberry 10 phones like the Q10 and Z10 and it’s possibly one of the worst experiences on a mobile phone that I have ever had to endure in my entire life, am sure those who have tried can testify. My efforts of trying to sideload Plume (twitter client) ended up showing like one and a quarter tweets per page on the q10 and generally it was all a mess.
The Android Skin drag
It’s no secret that most Android Skins don’t run well due the intense system resources they require. For all the bad things you can say about BB10, this is not part of them, I mean QNX on Blackberry’s current phones is butter smooth, solid and awesome. And in my experience of using different Android phones, the heavier you build a skin on top of Android the worse it performs, now companies like LG and HTC have mastered the art of skinning Android. But you use Samsung’s Galaxy skin and you are like OMG, it becomes a semi nightmare,
And the risk is if you try to merge the best of Blackberry and the best of Android you end up getting the worst of both all in one. And am not convinced that some of the cool Blackberry features will run as well on Android.
No retreat no surrender
Even if I think it would be great for Blackberry to surrender and downgrade from a full mobile OS to becoming just an Android Skin, truth be told, it’s impossible because I think the company is so headstrong and cannot sacrifice its dignity to kill the crippling Blackberry platform. The company has had this long standing brand that has always been an alternate to these other platforms and they cannot just give up the ship and merge into Android. Plus architecturally there are still merits the way Blackberry does its things; like even if you don’t use BES (their enterprise service), it’s still no brainer Blackberry’s enterprise solutions are still a smarter way to go than on any Android device.
I recently read a blog post that stated that, 60% of the Fortune’s 500 have tested or deployed iPhones and 93% have tested or deployed the iPad in 2011. In 2012 it’s even more. This has encroached on BlackBerry’s enterprise territory and with the rise of Samsung’s Knox enterprise solution, BlackBerry badly needs to learn a new trick in order to differentiate.
Filling the Android QWERTY hardware market
Fact, Blackberry Physcial hardware keyboards are great, another fact Android hardware keyboards suck. Now that’s a niche where Blackberry can step up and fill the role of the horrible QWERTY hardware market for Android cause they always had killer keyboards on their phones and no one is doing that these days. I wouldn’t want them to be branded with Blackberry and I don’t know if this would actually happen, but I think it could be pretty neat.