BB CEO Chen isn't going to make the leap to Android without a lot of thought, if ever

Mobile Nation's own CrackBerry Kevin Michaluk got some sit-down time with new BlackBerry CEO John Chen, and during the question and answer session Android came up — specifically the question about BlackBerry adopting Android as a platform.

Kevin: [...] Is BlackBerry 10 still the play, or could we see BlackBerry adopting something like Android going forward?

John: It’s way too early for me to make an informed statement on that. It would be very, very premature. Whatever is the right thing for the business, you need to preserve the reason why BlackBerry is around. I think just jumping to an Android without a thought through of why BlackBerry needs to be around and what makes us relevant and all that, before I answer that question, jumping to anything is inappropriate. You’ll find that I’m a little bit more thoughtful from a marketing perspective then to just go somewhere. I’m not that kind of person. I’ve only been on the clock now for almost 24 hours -- I think that if I made those statements right now conclusively, somebody should pull me out and shoot me.

We couldn't agree more. BlackBerry is the Ying to Android's Yang — having one around will make the other better. I think this new CEO could be the first step to some healing up in Waterloo.

If you've interest in the broader mobile picture, or still keep track of the goings-on in BlackBerry land (nostalgia, it'll get ya every time) you owe it to yourself to give the whole thing a read. Just follow the link below.

Source: CrackBerry


Reader comments

New BlackBerry CEO John Chen: Jumping on Android right now is inappropriate


Jerry, there is no Ying without Bling.

Unless or until they can make a profit, they aren't going anywhere.
Their best bet is to make an OS that can be a drop in replacement for
Andorid or WinMo on generic devices, and release that on phones from several
different manufacturers.

Their efforts at hardware are bleeding them dry.
But they might survive being the alternative OS on a number of hardware devices, either rebadged versions of LG, HTC, Sammy, or aftermarket OS replacements.

>> Their best bet is to make an OS that can be a drop in replacement for
Andorid or WinMo on generic devices

How can it be a best bet? As an replacement OS, that environment needs its own app ecosystem. Call me a pessimist, I seriously doubt that there's a room for yet another mobile OS ecosystem. If any, one will have to put in tremendous amount of effort, AND MONEY, into it to make meaningful market share gain -- like, the kind of things Microsoft is doing. Blackberry? I just don't think they have the money to do so.

After OS replacement? This is another thing that is not going to happen. For one, aftermarket OS installation is a niche market, even in the PC market these days. In the mobile space? You first need to unlock the bootloader of your phone before you can even replace it with a different OS. Given Blackberry's current situation, it probably has to borrow money to develop an aftermarket OS. I doubt they can find a lender who is willing to bet on such a thing. If most of the devices out there have difficult-to-break locked bootloader, the lender's money will be in cold water.

Blackberry is screwed now, their four and a half billion buyout fell through and they fired the ceo because of it. FairFax financial has agreed to infuse BB with a billion to assist them now so that leaves them with a leg to stand on for one or two more projects that need to push them in the right direction, or they'll be sold off very cheap.

Hardly. Was Apple "screwed" in the 1990s when they fell on hard times? No, they made it. Apple didn't die, it came back and came back big.

It's fashionable these days to say BlackBerry is dead. But the company is not dead. People assume the handset business is the extent of the company. They are wrong.

The offer to take BlackBerry private was a bad idea because it would have loaded the company up with debt. It's good for BB that it fell through. As for Heins, under him, BlackBerry 10 handsets sold poorly. The marketing was downright terrible. The devices rock, but the marketing sucked. Heins was shown the door not because of the failure of the offer to go private (remember, Fairfax is investing in BlackBerry instead of taking it private) but because it was clear he was not the right man to rescue BlackBerry. John Chen has a reputation as a troubleshooter; he did what others said was impossible at Sybase. We'll see how he does.

BlackBerry has already adopted Android, in a way.

BB10 handset owners who want to can easily run Android applications, either by downloading them from BlackBerry World or by sideloading them. With the Android runtime, recently updated to Jelly Bean, we have the best of both worlds: Secure, robust and powerful operating system based on QNX, and the ability to tap into the Android application ecosystem. We already can pair the powerful BlackBerry keyboard and BlackBerry messaging capabilities with Android apps.

Try out a Z10, Z30, or Q10 and you can see for yourself.

No question I have been saying the same thing for years, Blackberry needs to keep making hardware as there are people that love the form factor. However leave the OS and other stuff to someone else.

Of course they wouldn't jump on Android.

They are allergic to making money and coming out of the middle tech ages would be too much

Posted via Android Central App

He didn't say that. He said they would have to have a business plan in place first that would make sense of adopting Android before making that kind of commitment. Business 101.

Posted via Android Central App

It is a failing business with a currently failing business plan.

I am not saying jump today on it, but it should be more than what he said.

At the very least it could have been 'it is something we are going to give alot of thought to. Somewhere along the line android could play an important role. It could be phones, it could be tablets. We just know it is something qee need to seriously consider'

Instead of 'we need to think about it'

Give your investors some hope that something is gonna change

Posted via Android Central App

Less than 24 hours on the job and you want him to give false hope of android phones? He's certainly not going to divulge that information right away, whether he's thinking it or not. That would just be bad business sense and judging from his track record, he's not stupid.

Not a firm commitment, a positive spin to provide a sense of fresh thinking

Posted via Android Central App

"We haven't ruled anything out, we're a brand with a strong reputation for marketing high quality products, in the technology sector that presents many opportunities for strategic partnerships, should we choose to pursue one."
Hey look, positive spin that's completely non-committal. I should have this guy's job, I could probably do it better.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

I recall when good old Leo A. took over at his ill fated stint at HP and announced he was ditching webOS. Even if he was, do you know what that did to the saleability of the platform? Never undercut your own bargaining position no matter how weak it is.

Posted via Android Central App

EXACTLY!! No one is saying ditch BB10. But if you listen to his words, he makes sure he doesn't say NO. I am over the physical keyboard, and after teh recent release of BBM, i am not sure if they have the fight left in them. I hope they do, i am an OLD school BB fan, but having moved on to android a long time ago, i am pretty much over it.

That's not what got him in trouble. He would have been praised it that was it. What got him in trouble was he was going to spin off the hardware business, PC and severers. A billion dollar industry that was bring business to HP and he wanted to get rid of it

Having one around FOES make the other better.
However, the odds of BlackBerry being around in any meaningful way in two years look pretty slim with the direction (or misdirection) they have right now.
I'd like to see BB adopt Android and bring their own skin (or even fork) that is more security/enterprise oriented.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

Forking (a la Amazon) is not an option. That would leave them without access to Google play and right back to the app(less) mess they are in now. I think your idea of a skin makes sense as long as they keep it a compatible Android device they could have a shot.

No one has to fork, throw stock on the playbook and away you go, new product with Google services

Posted via Android Central App

Maybe not having the play store would be a good thing. BlackBerry could make their own site where all shops are security checked and verified, promoting the sense of a secure platform. It wouldn't be to hard to encourage major players to use them and upload their source for verification.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm not thinking fork in the sense of abandoning the Play Store,m more in the sense of addressing what they see as security flaws. Maybe that involves the Play Store, maybe not.
Their strength is hardware and the image of security. Run with that and abandon the crappy OS.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

I kind of agree. I very recently (as in the last few weeks) switched from BB10 to Android. I think BB10 is a great OS with a lot of potential, but still needs work. If they could somehow take all the positives from BB10 and combine with an Android base, that could be something. There was a lot of functionality built in to BB10 that I've had to find apps to replicate in Android. That's a start. Android has a lot of flexibility, with widgets, customization, etc. Combining the two as a skin/fork (whatever term works best) could make an awesome device!

I think it is cool to see BlackBerry represented here. Will they eventually go to Android? I doubt it since BB10 is really good. I think a fork of Android might seem more probable with the Android player already in the OS if it could tie into the Android Play Store. I think that would make for an interesting option.

Ultimately I think BlackBerry will move out of the hardware and OS business and move into an enterprise SaaS business.

But time will tell. I don't think they are dead and the general public is indifferent enough for them to recover. Even if us hard core fans seem to think otherwise.

The general public is indifferent to some things. Image is something the public is very sensitive to and BlavkBerry's image is one of boring, stuffy, failure.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

I agree. That is why in don't think they are dead. If they can refresh their image then I think you will see more people pick it up. Windows isn't growing because the platform is the best but because Nokia is making funky and cool phones.

I'm not trying to downplay the app shortage that BlackBerry has, it is very real. But I think there are more than enough people who are less app conscience that just wants something cool.

I don't want to say that jumping to Android is the answer. How is that working for HTC or LG? The Nexus phone is LG but is portrayed as the Google phone leveraging Google's name.

Still hoping for the best for BlackBerry and it's the best platform for me but I'm not blind either.

Yup the public doesn't care about Blackberry. They need to rebrand a line of stellar Android devices and start building that brand. BB10 isn't going to get them anywhere fast and this could bring them revenue to subsidize their own platform as it grows.

Posted via Android Central App

Even if Blackberry go Android its still got alot of work to do to re-establish the brand.

That said it only takes that one bright moment to perhaps see what the competition is missing.

I wouldnt right off blackberry but i cant see at this point in time what they can do to revive the company its going to take more than switching to the Android platform.

Posted via Android Central App

Saying BlackBerry is the Yin to Android's Yang is giving BlackBerry a bit too much credit as an OS. I think that role has been casted to iOS already.

I hope Blackberry would be able to stick around and recover, but to do that, I think they'll need to find a strong competitive advantage. Clearly, all the stuff that the BlackBerry OS used to hold alone have already been adopted by others.

Posted via Android Central App

I think iOS is Yang, too. The differences between Android and iOS (to consumers) on the surface is pretty small. Both are fun, hip and colorful — compared to BB, which is anything but fun and hip.

Blackberry 10 OS, actually, is pretty fun, hip, and colorful. It doesn't compete with the likes of Android KitKat, Jellybean, or Ice Cream Sandwich. It competes more with something like Android Froyo or Gingerbread. Because it is still a brand new OS with barely any iterations.

However, just wanted to say BB 10 is not what BB used to be. BB OS 7 and even older are more of what you're both probably thinking of.

Fun, hip and colorful are matters of perception. To the average consumer, BB and BB10 are anything but fun or hip. If the market doesn't think you're fun and hip (and the market most certainly does not) then you are not fun and hip. That's the nature of marketing/sales/tech.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81


Could definitely be punched up on the visual side. The OS comment is valid though. People still think Pearls and Curves when you ask about BlackBerry. Big failure on their part to show the rebirth of the OS.

To say it is competing with Gingerbread is just putting blinders on. John G Public doesn't care if the OS is new.

Let's be honest, without marketing they're not gonna get anywhere. Just ask HTC. They're in the same situation when it comes to marketing, have the latest specs and the HTC One has superb build quality and they're also using Android. So jumping to Android card won't help if they don't do something about that atrocious marketing team. Samsung was on the same boat a while ago and look where their intense marketing has got them. You can always jump to the Android card but I think the real problem here is the marketing team and I'm sure we all know that already but I'm surprised they haven't realized this yet.

HTC has a hole they are climbing out of. It will take time before they build their brand back up and seems like it is working. Samsung has good marketing and they have backing it up with the best devices for a few years now. HTC is just starting down this path.

Posted via Android Central App

Not an appropriate time? Blackberry better jump on Android while they can, and make a spot on the market before its too late!

Posted from the Google Nexus 7 2012 via Android Central App

Blackberry with android platform,my opinion it'll be a game changer for sure. Great keyboards very high end work phone for business with android with the google play store would be awesome

Posted via Android Central App

Smh I'm so glad none of you are running any company. First you wanted Nokia to run to Android and now you want Blackberry. If you guys had it your way everything would be Android and how boring of a world that would be. I really hope they keep BB10 going and put their money where their mouth is. Pay Facebook to get Instagram and find their "it" in this market. Android has customization, and iOS has the simplicity. Find that and they'll have something the people want but can't get from another OS. That's why no matter what Google releases to iOS people stay with Android because it'll never be as integrated as it is on Android and vice versa. I would love to go back to BB, but there's nothing there I can't get from my Android phone so I'm here for now until you guys win me back or Windows. Either way I'm rooting for the little guys.

Posted via Android Central App

You do know that Nokia was about to go out of business because their partnership with WP was so disastrous, right? And that BlackBerry isn't much better off. They don't have the money to put where their mouth is. Competition is good, but given a choice between going out of business (which is where their current business plan is taking them) or adopting Android as an OS, what sane person would choose going out of business?

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

Welcome to Android Central, no crap we want that massive Nokia and track record of good hardware on Android.

They only reason we are even talking g about BB is because it was posted here, other than that, it doesn't get mentioned overall.

It is on life support and needs something, anything, to get people to mention it.

Don't bring up BBM as us talking BB, it was the Android app we were talking about, and the laughter was at BB

Posted via Android Central App

Welcome to Android Central, no crap we want that massive Nokia and track record of good hardware on Android.

They only reason we are even talking g about BB is because it was posted here, other than that, it doesn't get mentioned overall.

It is on life support and needs something, anything, to get people to mention it.

Don't bring up BBM as us talking BB, it was the Android app we were talking about, and the laughter was at BB

Posted via Android Central App

I would take a Z10 running Android Any day!! Blackberry makes a very strong phone. The Z10 is a really nice phone but the OS is just done.

Posted via Android Central App

I'm loving my Android HTC One but I've played with a few BB10 devices & can anyone who has spent 30 minutes with one tell me with a straight face that BB10 doesn't kick butt?? They have to find a way to get it into more hands. Don't know how but if they could do that I believe a lot if people would happily jump ship from Android & IOS

I think BB10 is why they are where they are today.

BB7 was a solid OS for people who wanted a simplistic, secure platform with strong messaging. 

BB10 is a poor attempt to be Android or iOS with only 20 good apps to do it with. 

Animations and pretty colors are not what sold BlackBerrys. Getting instant email, with no fluff in the way is. They need to go back to it, and make another $199 curve.

Having spent more than half an hour with it, I can comfortably say it doesn't kick butt. It does some things differently, but it didn't do anything better and it didn't do anything that iOS or Android don't already do. You need to do something different, something markedly better or have marketing cache/mind share. BB has none of these things, especially BB10.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

Well, you're part of the problem. If people like you would stop talking about jumping ship from Android to BB10 and just do it already, then BlackBerry would be in a much better position. Since its such a "kick butt" OS, then you have no problem trading in your One for a Z10 or Z30, right?

/Extreme Sarcasm

Posted via Android Central App

I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand but in my experience the remaining blackberry users were hanging on for one reason.. the f-ing keyboard. We don't care about BBM-enterprise servers... yada, yada... yada... it's the damn keyboard.

That being said there are many of us who also like to other things on our phone like find a Starbucks, do some banking, etc. Well when bb started to tank guess who followed... every app maker on the planet. google...gone, banks..gone. etc.. etc. So it gets kind of sucky seeing 'just download the iphone and android app... fpr the last 2+ years and knowing you can't do crap. So we switch and suck it up on iphones/androids. put android in a bold 9900 and i'd pay $800 tomorrow and so would 1000's of other high use email professionals... sales people, realtors, etc.

But Blackberry execs... old and now new seem to think people actually give a s##t about their software... WE DON'T! BB10 appears nice but we really don't care. Just give us our damn keyboard on a phone that happens to also be supported my the millions of people making really productive products (apps) for it.

You can ying and yang all you want but without being able to get a us bank app, chase bank app, tickmaster app, united center app, taco bell app, NYSE app, UAL app, google app, chrome app... Blackberry is dead.

Keyboard and BBM. Which still boggles my mind with the cross platform move. They're going to lose a LOT of hardware purchasers over the BBM release.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

Not like they would lose any more money than they are now. I could see people wanting an Android Blackberry device.

Oh boy...this isn't good.
Last time I heard a new CEO saying "oh jumping on Android now isn't appropriate"...that CEO locked the company to another platform and sunk the company to the point where they now are struggling to get away from the claws of a shark. That company is Nokia.

And that CEO was a former Microsoft executive... That whole situation was and is bad.

Why does everyone think that Android is the answer for BlackBerry? It isn't. Perhaps if we were still in the era of Gingerbread and Froyo, BlackBerry could've made an impact when it was anybody's game. Android is now dominated by Samsung.

By that rationale, BB should just close their doors. Markets are flexible, especially as buying a Samsung device isn't an investment in future Samsung devices. When you have an iPhone or Android, you invest in the platform through apps which tie you to that platform. There is no such connection keeping you on Samsung or HTC or LG.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

A BlackBerry with Android is a much better option than whatever the hell they're doing. Obviously their strategy is not working. At all.

Posted via Android Central App

I actually really like BB10 and what it brings to the table. I owned a Z10 for a month and enjoyed it, but the lack of overall polish and app disparity kept me away.
Blackberry, take some time on 10.3, clean up the horrendous settings menu, get some continuity with the theme, a nice coat of polish, and some more app support and they have a winner.

Posted via Android Central App

WebOS was a winner too. But nobody bought it, just as nobody is buying BlackBerrys.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

Personally, I second what Jerry said. They should have just improved on BB7, instead of creating a brand new OS. They already had apps for BBOS, and it was an established brand. That's not to say anything negative of BB10; however, the apps situation is one of the reasons why they're not gaining marketshare.

They created fragmentation within their brand, and only God knows why.

Posted via Android Central App

Blackberry is as good as dead.Even Windows phone has overtaken it in terms of market share and apps and even then WP has problems getting devs to release good stuff on the same day as android and iOS Also with Microsoft financial resources WP is the only is which stands a chance here

Posted via Android Central App from Nexus 7 2013

Such a shame, we need high end Android phones to do some Apple stomping, if Nokia and BlackBerry joined up they'd have every market covered.

Sadly, Nokia is on the path to a slow death, now all but certain with Microsoft's purchase, and BlackBerry may continue to dwindle dedicated to its own approach.

The deal hasn't happened yet. Nokia shareholders will first have to approve it now on the 19th of November. And authorities also have to approve the deal.
There's still hope Nokia can escape Microsoft's claws. However...there's also a chance Microsoft attacks BB next...with or without successfuly destroying Nokia first.

The Canadian government won't let BB be bought by a non-Canadian company.

If Samsung made penis implants, would they have TouchWiz? - dchawk81

How about they just pull a Nokia. Drop their current OS. Pick a new OS that's getting some positive feedback from people (Ubuntu seems like a nice OS to support). And build great hardware for that new OS. And pray hard that it gets a decent market share. It seems to have worked for Nokia so far. They're not gone yet.

Posted via Android Central App

Your in the red at the casino. Take your losses and go home. Your never gonna win it back.

Posted via Android Central App

I for one do not agree. Blackberry has, for all intents and purposes, become largely irrelevant in many markets and certainly no longer impacts the development of Android, iOS and Windows Phone in any meaningful way. Those platforms have long since matured enough to not need inspiration or pressure from a platform that, bar BB10 which isn't widely available, has been stuck in 2008 for a rather long time.

Blackberry and Microsoft both need to get onboard the Android train NOW.

The future for both of Blackberry and Windows Mobile are dim to say the least.

I sure hope I'm wrong, but I don't think they'll be around in 5 years. Okay, maybe Windows Mobile will be around because Microsoft still has a ton of cash left to flush down the toilet. However, Blackberry does not have money to pull that off.

Windows mobile died years ago.its Windows phone now.Also if everyone went Android it would be a pretty boring world IMO

Posted via Android Central App

I'm not sure what's best for their bottomline, but improving BlackBerry rather than using the Android platform seems like a good option for consumers, especially those who feel Google is becoming too obtrusive.

Posted via Android Central App, HTC One

Switching to Android would destroy the whole concept of what BB stands for and sink the company.

And resting on their laurels waiting for everyone to jump on the blackberry bandwagon again will also sink the company. They are the perfect example of Spencer Johnson's "Who Moved My Cheese?"

I think they need to really consider what they are going to do with this company from here on out.

From a software standpoint, they need to find a way to incorporate a mix of BBOS and Android. Kind of like TouchWiz but more integrated into the phone. And with 4.4's ability to work on devices with lower specs, it may be a saving grace.

This arrogant behavior is exactly why BlackBerry has failed and why I have never owned one

Posted via Android Central App

Having never owned one you really should remain silent because you have no clue. BB10 is a much more powerful OS than Android ,actually BB10 can run Android because it is a full OS and not ten other way around.