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Chen: BlackBerry will build an Android smartphone only if it can make it secure enough

Posted: , by Florin T.

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Chen: BlackBerry will build an Android smartphone only if it can make it secure enough
Earlier today, BlackBerry reported that it sold 1.1 million smartphones during the last quarter - 0.5 million less than in the previous quarter. Even so, the company isn't doing terribly bad (thanks to its services and software licensing business), and it will obviously continue to manufacture smartphones running BlackBerry OS. But what about those Android-related plans that the company is reportedly ready to pursue? Well, BlackBerry CEO John Chen today talked about this.

During an interview with CNBC (see the video embedded below), John Chen was asked what's the deal with all the rumors regarding Android-based BlackBerry handsets. His answer: "We only build secure phones, and BlackBerry is the most secure phone. So, if I can find a way to secure the Android phone, I will also build that." In other words, John Chen confirms the fact that BlackBerry is open to embracing Android in certain conditions, but for now he can't say more about this.

If we're to believe rumors, BlackBerry could launch its first Android smartphone as soon as August. The handset should be an entry-level, affordable one that resembles the BlackBerry Z3 (pictured above). A high-end BlackBerry Android device might follow, possibly bringing a Quad HD curved display and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Customers seem to like the idea of an Android-based BlackBerry, so let's wait and see if the Canadian company will indeed experiment with Google's OS.

source: CNBC via CrackBerry

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posted on 23 Jun 2015, 15:37 1

1. phonewatcher (Posts: 57; Member since: 22 Jun 2015)

Mr. Chen stop winding.. release a bb phone with Bb10 ui based on android os..

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 16:15

7. Antimio (Posts: 313; Member since: 11 Nov 2013)

Actually, that's easy. Just release a Nexus device.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 17:09 2

12. Johnnokia (Posts: 1144; Member since: 27 May 2012)

They need to consider more high end devices like Z30 successor. I found that the revenue breakdown is jumping in North America and fading out in emerging market.
Selling only 1.1 million handset is so unacceptable BlackBerry. A few years ago, you sold this amount in a single week.

Wake up, push more great devices, advertise them, keep developing your BB10. Android will never save you!

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 20:36

18. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

That is part of the problem when a company is trying to support a closed OS. In order to write and support new hardware (CPUs, cameras, displays, LTE, WiFi, BT, and more). Then they need lots of people to support the QNX OS and create new and maintain drivers for the new hardware.

Look at another prime example of a closed OS, WP. Microsoft has the money and resources. However there is only a select few at the ranks of Microsoft that actually have access to the WP OS source code. The same is true for Windows in general, especially now because it is even more closed and restricted nowadays with still a handful of people that can actually make changes to their core OS. Now when you compare Windows to Android today. Android by far has more hardware support then WP and for that matter even Windows as well. It use to be that Windows had the most hardware support. But today Android and its heart (Linux) has more hardware support then any other OS on the planet today, and it keeps growing more and more every day. This is not going to stop especially with IoT which is currently dominated by Linux and Android. This looks like I went off on a tangent, but I was trying to show you that Android supports more hardware then QNX could ever shake a stick at. So by using Android they can prototype and use any type of mobile hardware on the planet, with a much faster turn around time then what they could ever achieve using their own QNX OS. Not to mention it would ultimately cut down on prototyping and development costs. Some that not only BlackBerry needs, but every other company is always looking to do.

BlackBerry should look at a forked Android version like the Black phone, which is very secure.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 21:13 3

26. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Dude, ENOUGH already with recycling your BS. Android will never be as secure as BB10 or QNX. QNX is already embedded in hundreds, perhaps thousands of IoT systems. Android ISN'T. Let me break it down with a previous post debunking your BS:

"QNX can and does already run on multiple points of hardware, CPU's, GPU's, display sizes, WiFi, LTE, bluetooth, cameras, the whole works. QNX is also capable of running other OS's on top of it and virtualized. It can a variety of other OS's apps. Stop spreading your BS about QNX. You really need to research something before you talk about it.

QNX is ALREADY embedded in TONS of IoT devices already, and actually powers things that Android cannot, like nuclear power plants. There is absolutely NO GUARANTEE that BlackBerry will do any better with Android than they are already doing, considering Motorola, HTC and Sony are all in the red and even Samsung's sales are in a slump.

How could BlackBerry going Android be the next logical step for a company focused on enterprise and government? Android doesn't have, and will never have, the certs necessary to be used by the DoD and high-up military officials and heads of state. So you're saying that BlackBerry should give up all of those contracts just to run Android? That's ridiculous.

The so-called secure Android phone, Blackphone, was HACKED in under five minutes. There goes your theory about "secure Android". Even Samsung can't secure their own enterprise offering, so they turned to BlackBerry. Google did the same."

For the umpteenth time: Cut the blind fanboyism out and use logic next time.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 10:03 2

91. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

You are an idiot, clearly you are not in the IoT field at all. IoT and SBC's are currently dominated by Linux, then followed by Android. I work in this area. All the new hardware coming out comes with Linux, and/or Android support out of the box. Where is the QNX support? ALMOST NO WHERE TO BE FOUND. What is Android's kernel? Oh, that's right it is Linux. Linux also dominates all the super computers, and runs the majority of the Internet, and servers as well as IoT and SBC's. Another thing that will clearly reaffirm what I was saying about IoT is Apple's Swift 2.0 is going to support OS/X, iOS and Linux runtimes (LLVM). They are not even releasing a Windows version. Yes Apple has released the source code to the compiler and the standard libraries. However Apple is NOT releasing the runtime (LLVM) code. With Apple releasing a Linux runtime this is Apple's only way into the IoT world, since Linux is the dominate force in IoT. Apple didn't release a QNX or Windows runtime.

So does the new hardware and new driver support magically and automatically appear out of thin air for QNX? No, it doesn't. Someone has to write new and maintain QNX to work on new hardware or technologies. This is a fact Jack. The part where I said in the previous post that only a handful of people actually have access to QNX and maintain it, still stands.

Sure QNX is in some critical areas like Nuclear power plants, and some car infotainment systems. But for the rapid pace of mobile QNX has proven itself, that it CANNOT keep up in today's world. Although QNX is secure, it falls short in support and new development. Look at the new and upcoming areas in mobile. Like smart watches, fitness trackers, VR, AR, and the next wave of computing IoT. Some Analyst's predict $19 trillion dollars in IoT by the year 2022. So where are the smart watches for BlackBerry? Where are the fitness trackers for BlackBerry? Where is the VR, and AR with BlackBerry? I left the best for last. Where is BlackBerry's IoT? What devices do they support? I will bet you a million dollars for every device you can find that supports QNX will also support Linux and Android. I will bet another million for that the vast majority of IoT devices do not support QNX, yet they will support Linux and/or Android. This isn't a fanboy talking, this is facts talking.

The next logical step is BlackBerry going to Android. It makes sense for new technologies like smart watches, fitness trackers, medical equipment which QNX is lacking support in all these areas compared to Android. Also when Blackberry moves to Android they will have access to the latest technologies like from Google's YouTube. Sure BlackBerry has YouTube as well, but its missing the latest YouTube support for things like 3D/VR/360 view support. Also projects like Brillo, project Ara to name a few. Now Blackberry could get on board with all the latest stuff.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 10:11 2

92. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

As it stands today BlackBerry is falling behind and cannot keep up. QNX has become BlackBerry's Achilles heel. Although QNX is very secure. It cannot grow in today's rapid market. Its a very different world.

You mentioned the Black phone being hacked. Did you actually read how they hacked it. You had to perform the task on a brand new device, and set it up to, and then go back and change the security settings to remove some of the security. Which then allowed you to hack the phone. However if the Black phone was already set up by a user, then the device CANNOT be hacked by anyone else.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:01

48. BobbyDigital (Posts: 2101; Member since: 29 May 2014)

MeanestGenius just KNOCKED YOU THE F*CK OUT!! Lmao!!

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 10:14 2

93. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Check again. Meanestgenius now looks like an ignorant idiot who is devoid of any technical knowledge.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:03 2

50. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1639; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

First of all, in regards to Windows Phone, the problem there was two-fold: 1. Microsoft was charging a licensing fee to manufacturers for every WP device they made (in the past year or so they've cut this amount down) and 2. WP wasn't making any money so less and less manufacturers are wasting time building a WP device. And you're right in the case of WP that because of the closed nature of the OS there was no real incentive for all of these manufacturers to make the same thing as the next one and hope to turn a profit.

But, I don't think you should compare Blackberry to Microsoft because they aren't trying to get manufacturers to make their devices. They make it themselves. So, really, they are more like Apple in that regard.

Also, you are right the Blackphone is a very secure forked Android device, but I'm guessing you also didn't know that the Blackphone doesn't have access to the Google Play store either. The Blackphone can sideload Android apps the same way that Blackberry devices can, but it does not support the Play store at all.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 11:15 1

94. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

I agree with you on the part of the charging a license fee, and I will agree with you on the WP wasn't and still isn't making any money. But the other problem you left out was that WP only supported a certain subset of hardware from specific OEMs. For instance WP only supported specific subset of Qualcomm CPUs.

I was comparing Blackberry to Microsoft in regards to closed source and support for new hardware and rapid development. So when I brought up Microsoft. I was trying to show that even a bigger company like Microsoft has access to the closed Windows and WP source code. Yet they cannot keep up to the pace of Linux and Android, let alone support all the hardware on the market today. To this day WP and even Windows 10 doesn't support SOCs from like Rockchip, AllWinner, MediaTek, Marvell, Broadcom, Nvidia, Exynos, LG's new CPU, and many others. Not to mention all the other hardware and types that are in the mobile world, like displays, cameras, LTE, finger print scanners, WiFi, Bluetooth, and many other things to come. Microsoft cannot pump out as fast as Linux and Android today. This is a fact.

Even in the IoT world Microsoft currently has 2 IoT devices that it supports (with about 4 more to come) Windows 10. There is already around a thousand devices on the market, with a lot more to come, and they all support Linux and/or Android. The real problem that meanestgenius didn't realize is that they have to get someone that has to write new code to support the new hardware that is coming out. So with a closed OS like QNX and Windows (WP), then you have to hire people to write new code and drivers for the new hardware. But even when you have the people you still cannot have enough people, because all those OEMs that either make the boards and CPU's automatically add Linux support.

For instance look at the two boards that Microsoft support the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard already have full Linux support. Not to mention Raspberry Pi's original boards B/B+/A/A+ have Linux support, but they are not getting Windows 10 support, and they are still making those boards. Even new startups are making boards that have Linux on them out of the box. Like that new Chip for $9 comes with a Linux distro embedded on board. Just recently there is a new company that is making a board for $6.50 that only has bluetooth, 600 MHz processor, 128 MB of ram, and 512 MB of storage. It comes with Linux on board with no Windows support anywhere to be found.

Want proof even Apple is releasing there Swift 2.0 runtimes (LLVM) for OS/X, iOS. and Linux. With no Windows runtime support. They released the source code, but only for the compiler and the standard libraries. No runtime source code is being released. This also reaffirms what I was saying about IoT. Apple realized that if you can't beat them, then join them. Mark my words Linux, then Android is going to dominate IoT.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 16:46 1

97. Dr.Phil (Posts: 1639; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)

Yes but Blackberry 10/QNX is a Unix-based system, unlike Windows Phone, which makes it similar to Android which is also Unix-based. That's why Android apps can work on Blackberry 10.

And again while I do see your point, we have to compare Blackberry to Apple on this level. Apple has been accused of not adopting technology as quick as Android, BUT Apple is known for having devices work as they are intended which Android sometimes doesn't. I've seen many cases of Android manufacturers rushing new tech to the market and they end up having to send out updates months later to fix problems with it. Blackberry and Apple avoid this because they do all of the testing in house and the OS supports it right off the bat. You also have to remember that Blackberry is marketing itself as a secure OS, so it can't just allow anything and everything to happen. They try to secure the device down to the chipset they use, so any new chipsets that is in a Blackberry has to undergo certain restrictions to make sure it is secured for the user.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 21:41 2

98. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

You're statement regarding Blackberry is a Unix based system is similar to Android which is also Unix based. This doesn't matter because Android sits on top of Linux. Android uses a Virtual Machine to run its applications. That is why you see Android running on top of QNX. The other thing with Android apps is they can work on x86, MIPS, and ARM CPUs. The compile time occurs at either runtime or app install time. Also you can run Android apps on a Chromebook, PC or Mac as well now.


I can understand being secure. But with only half a million units sold within the last 3 months. Blackberry does not have the luxury of time to fool around now. When it comes down to it BlackBerry cannot use Apples iOS. They could look at licensing WP. But with WP (Windows 10 future) selling only 8.3 million smart phones in the last quarter. Not to mention the WP App ecosystem (lack thereof). BlackBerry may as well fold up shop if they choose WP or even Window 10. So there last and only choice left would be Android. Besides they can currently run Android apps right now with BB OS 10. Not to mention the hardware support for Android is the best on the market. The vast majority of new hardware comes to Android first. So it clearly makes sense for BB to run with Android. Also you can make Android as secure as you want.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 15:41 2

2. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

And that is the 10 million dollar question: Can BlackBerry make Android secure? BlackBerry handsets are secured from the hardware to the software. It's ingrained in the smartphone itself. Now, securing the hardware will be the easy part. But can they truly secure software that's inherently "open"? I guess if any company can do it, BlackBerry can.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 15:50

4. NFSHesham (Posts: 283; Member since: 04 Feb 2014)

if anything.. they should throw away Google's bunch of apps and put their own depending on other stores for apps such as amazon

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 16:09 1

6. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

I will admit, I don't use a great deal of Android apps on my Passport. The majority of apps I use are native BB10 ones, and for those apps that aren't available for the BlackBerry platform that I might use, I use the web. For example: the Facebook Pages app won't run on BB10 due to it using Google Services. No problem, I just "pinned" the entire web page to my Passport home screen. That being said:

BlackBerry doesn't build consumer apps anymore, and BlackBerry has even asked the devs to switch to building enterprise apps native to BlackBerry. They've asked any dev that wants to build consumer apps to do so via Amazon. That's why they use Android apps.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 20:48 1

20. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

They need to support the core apps, especially if you want to support Android wearables as well. Like smart watches, VR, AR, fitness devices, glasses, and more. Not to mention the next wave of computing which is IoT. This is where Android already has access to a ton of devices and apps right now, with more always coming down the pipeline. Blackberry is no where to be found in these up and coming markets. Which promise the largest and next computing growth, especially the IoT world. If BlackBerry doesn't support Google apps and services, then they are just shooting themselves in the foot.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 21:25 1

27. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

QNX ALREADY supports ALL of Androids core apps, as it can already run the Android OS itself atop it AND virtualized. It also wearables, and is already positioned AHEAD of the competition in IoT. QNX is already embedded in systems that Android isn't even remotely a part of, like stop lights and nuclear power plants. BlackBerry, thru QNX, is ALL OVER the IoT, even more than Google is. Where do you get your bogus info from? You really need to take off the fanboy blinders and do your research.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 13:03 2

95. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Wow talk about fanboy blinders. I work on embedded systems and IoT devices.

So with QNX great hardware support is that why FitBit works sometimes for the majority of the times on Blackberry. The BlackBerry forms and apps clearly show this to be true. Also none of the current 8 Android Wear smart watches work on any Blackberry devices. Neither does the new Pebble Time or other smart watches. Same with the glasses, and other hardware and software support.

Although Blackberry has YouTube support. It does NOT support the new 3D/VR/360 view support that is in YouTube today. You know for things like VR. Do you even know what VR is? I guess you wouldn't if you are using a Blackberry device.

You talk about virtualization, and Android. Okay Mr. smarty pants so if QNX is running on some hardware, and Android OS itself is atop of QNX. Doesn't it make sense that QNX has to support the hardware, even the CPU that QNX is running on? Sure that makes sense, doesn't it? So does QNX run on MediaTek processors? Does QNX run on Nvidia processors, and many others? If it does then why hasn't BlackBerry made with these processors? It certainly would cut down production costs if they did use other chips. I think BlackBerry themselves realize that QNX is BlackBerry's Achilles heel, even if you don't meanestgenius.

Now onto a topic that you are clearly ignorant on, or have been sleeping under a rock for too long. So do you honestly believe that QNX is AHEAD of the competition in IoT? Clearly you showing the world that you are devoid of any facts. Linux right now is the dominate force behind IoT by a land slide. It certainly isn't QNX, Windows, iOS, or OS/X. So what is Android's heart? It is Linux. Android runs on top of Linux. All the hardware support and drivers are for Linux when it comes to the Android OS. All the existing IoT and SBCs as well as the new ones yet to come have Linux support. For instance boards like Intel Edison, Galileo, all Raspberry Pi's, Banana Pi, Beaglebone Black, MinnowBoard, ODROID's, Arduino Yun, DragonBoard, and tons more. They all run and support Linux out of the box, and most have Android support as well. I don't see any of them supporting QNX. There is a few startups that are bringing really inexpensive IoT devices like Chip for $9 which comes with Linux, WiFi, BT, 1 GHz processor 512 MB of ram, 4 GB of storage. I don't see any QNX support any where to be found. Here is something else that reaffirms what I was saying to be true. Is that Apple released Swift 2.0 and they are supporting runtimes for OS/X, iOS, and Linux. They didn't release QNX or Windows support even. BTW Apple released the source code for only the compiler and the standard libraries, but they didn't release the runtime code. Apple released a runtime for Linux because they also know that Linux is the dominate force in IoT. QNX is looking for table scraps like the rest.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:02

49. BobbyDigital (Posts: 2101; Member since: 29 May 2014)

Chin checked ONCE AGAIN! LMAO!!

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 13:09 2

96. sgodsell (Posts: 4855; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)

Yeah, and if you up voted him. Then you also proved to the world that you are as ignorant and devoid of any technical knowledge like him.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 21:11 2

24. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

I know I mentioed this before...but Moto proved it can secure their Android phones on the hardware side of things. (or the firmware side, whichever is more correct)

If BB really are the kings of mobile phone security...prove it and make a secure BB device running Android.

I mean...if Linux is used by corporations, businesses on mission critical servers....open source cant be that insecure. I guess the biggest hurdle would be connecting to the internet and making it secure. I dont believe servers are connected to the internet. Unless they make a BB Android phone that cannot connect to the net and has side loading disabled, taken completely out.

One job I worked at we couldnt bring any electronic devices in the office that could connect to the internet or outside the office. That included regular cell phones....they all had to go in lockers in the hallway. Smartphones, regular cell, tablets, etc. They did allow old school cd players tho. mp3 players was kinda iffy because of storage on the devices.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 21:30 2

28. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Android/Linux is NO WHERE NEAR as secure as BB10/QNX. QNX is already in mission critical systems in hospitals, satellites and nuclear power plants. BlackBerry is the king of mobile security, but it's kind of difficult to secure something that's inherently open. But if anyone can do it, BlackBerry can.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 22:07 2

31. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

So...I guess you will just disregard what I said about Linux and servers....huh.....


If NASA is happy with Linux..cant be that bad.

QNX hasnt replaced every server running Linux out there....so it cant be that insecure. For all the times you mention others being fanboys...you come off like it too at times.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 22:36 3

38. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Never once did I say that QNX replaced every server running Linux.

Linux is no where near as secure as QNX. QNX is embedded in more mission critical systems than Linux.

I back up everything I say with facts, and links, if need be.

So YOU'RE continually disregarding anything about what I'm saying about QNX...huh...


Fanboys don't come off with factual links like I do. They just keep trying to push their agenda like you do.


posted on 23 Jun 2015, 22:52 1

43. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Dont worry,,,,,you showed your true colors when you just dimissed what I said about Linux and NASA and DoD...the icing on the cake is the "Black phone hacked in 5 minutes" rumor you post as fact...lol.

Uh...so...I'm a fanboy with an agenda...when I post at least two very important agencies in the govt that use Linux on a daily basis....


DoD is made up of more than 1 agency too..ya know... Whats funny is QNX and just plain Linux could be both used by NASA and DoD....and we would both be posting facts. But you fanboy colors are really showing now.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:05 1

51. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

You've shown your colors from day one on every Windows article PA has posted. You're one of those fanboys that thinks Android is the be all, end all OS, and it isn't. HTC, Sony and Motorola all prove me right.

How did I ignore what you posted about Nasa? Because I didn't comment on that particular part of your post? AND? I've given you a huge list of companies that use QNX, including nuclear power plants, and you've yet to comment on that.

The DoD does not use ANY Linux based handset for communications. They don't have the certs for it. What's funnier is that you think QNX is "plain Linux" and it isn't. But it CAN run Linux atop it.

Your fanboyism hit an all time high since you really believe the Blackphone being hacked was just a rumor.

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:47 2

67. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Yea...keep trying to move the goal posts....

Remember....PA posts are cemented for all enternity after so many seconds.....please go back and quote me where I said the Black Phone ....never...got....hacked....

I am dying to see this quote....

posted on 23 Jun 2015, 23:51 2

70. meanestgenius (Posts: 16598; Member since: 28 May 2014)

Please quote me where I said in my above post that YOU said Blackphone never....got....hacked....I'll wait.

I'm really am waiting to see this quote.

Reading comprehension clearly isn't your strong suit.

posted on 24 Jun 2015, 00:48 1

85. jroc74 (Posts: 6019; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Ma'am...If you really wanna play this game....we can play....

Your posts...ok? Your posts... But I will not exert any extra energy by posting screen shots....you may claim they are fake.....fanboys usually have a warped sense of reality.

Post #46...I just posted to some other nonsese post of your about inferring. Notice how you say....The Blackphone got HACKED. No mention of hacked..in...5....minutes....

you goalpost mover you....

Post #51 No inferring there just plain ole...stupidity.

See, I even put them in chronological order for ya..oops I mean numeric order...oh man...is they a more dumbed down way to say this? if I do hope you dont get lost. I really do.

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