Pour one out for the little guys, folks... even if this particular little guy used to be a 700-pound gorilla that dominated corporate and government sales all over the world. After a mostly positive response to the BlackBerry Priv, the company's latest flagship and its first to run the Android operating system, CEO John Chen says that the older BlackBerry OS is not going to be used in any of the new phones it has planned for the 2016 calendar year. He told Cnet the news at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
A full switch-over to Android makes sense - many software and app developers are ignoring the BlackBerry platform completely after its marketshare has dived into the single digits over the last few years. Even so, seeing such a rapid shift from BlackBerry, a company that has staunchly committed to its in-house operating system for the better part of a decade even as Android and iOS have crushed it, is more than a little surprising. With presumably no active development over the next year, this might easily be the last nail in the coffin for BlackBerry's operating system. That being said, it's a shrewd (and overdue) move from the Canadian company. The decision was probably made in the hope of avoiding the ignoble fate of former competitors Palm and Nokia, whose similar dedication to their own software platforms hastened their eventual failure and acquisition.
Chen told Cnet that BlackBerry will definitely launch at least one new product, and perhaps a second phone, during 2016. Rumors of a phone with a fixed keyboard are already making the rounds. He also said that the first two months' sales of the BlackBerry Priv have been "so far, so good." The phone recently expanded beyond unlocked sales to debut on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint.