Blackberry Prepares Android Encore, this one dubbed “Vienna”

by Matt Klassen on November 13, 2015

Just days after Blackberry CEO John Chen confirmed that his company has more products in the works following the release of the not-so-private Blackberry Priv smartphone and we are already seeing renders of the company’s next rumoured Android offering, codenamed “Vienna.”

As ZDNet’s Kevin Tofel  explains, the device “looks like the old BlackBerry Passport and new BlackBerry Priv got together and had a baby. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” The phone is long and thin, its added length necessary to incorporate an always-present physical keyboard, different from the hidden keyboard we’re now seeing on the Priv.

Granted there isn’t much to go on when it comes to specifics, but it does hint that Blackberry’s foray into the Android ecosystem may be a longer visit than any of us expected, not simply a one-off experiment but the first device in a radical shift for a company still trying to rediscover its way through the mobile world.

Now admittedly these are early days for Blackberry and Android, so let’s just be clear that we’re dealing here with unsubstantiated rumours. In fact, the website Crackberry, which first leaked these “Vienna” mock-ups, has no idea how old the renderings are, meaning they could potentially show plans for forthcoming Priv successor, or maybe even a scrapped predecessor project.

Simply put, even if these pictures show a Blackberry’s second Android project, there’s nothing to say that the form factor won’t change dramatically between what we’re seeing now and when the project is officially announced.

What it does show, however, is that Blackberry is clearly interested in Android; interested enough to develop a long-term strategy with the OS and map out a path of potential Android-based hardware development.

Although no further information is available, if Blackberry is hoping the “Vienna” project will exist alongside the Priv, it would make sense for the specifications to be relatively the same, likely sporting a similar Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor paired with 3 GB of memory, as well as several of the Priv’s other key features, allowing the “Vienna” to attract customers based on its design, rather than its radically different functionality.

But what does it say about the Blackberry Priv that a few scant days after its release the tech world seems more excited about what’s coming next than about what’s already here. As I’ve said, the Priv leaves a great deal to be desired when it comes to providing substantial privacy, and if Blackberry can’t get privacy right, I sincerely doubt the presence of physical keyboards on Android phones will help its cause.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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