For months now, there have been rumors that BlackBerry is working on an Android-powered device but until recently, there was very little evidence to back those rumors up outside of a single render provided by @evleaks. Since the initial rumors began, the folks at CrackBerry have been tracking blurry cam images, as well as a bunch of renders, which all appear to point to an Android powered BlackBerry becoming a real thing.
This is the latest on what we know, what we don't know, and what we think.
Leaks, rumors and allegations ...
According to some new details provided once again by @evleaks, the BlackBerry Venice slider is running Android Lollipop and is headed to all major carriers in the U.S. this November, although an exact date has not been detailed. But according to various other rumors, could happen on Nov. 16.
To go along with that information, some new renders have been released which highlight some additional images of the device itself along with showing off the Google Play Store, which BlackBerry 10 smartphones currently have no legitimate access to.
Also spotted in the images is the BlackBerry Hub, which acts as the central location for all messages on BlackBerry 10 smartphones. Something BlackBerry notably mentioned it would be bringing to Android, as well as iOS and Windows Phone through the BlackBerry Experience Suite as part of their cross-platform strategy they've been taking on.
Still not buying the idea that BlackBerry would roll out an Android device with a physical keyboard? Well, there's also a new image of the device showing off exactly that and it's no Samsung hardware keyboard. It's the same BlackBerry keyboard you likely loved and eventually tossed aside a few years back.
But, wait, there's more.
According to CrackBerry, the GIF files shared by @evleaks are rather similar to the video files BlackBerry places on some of their hardware as help, how-to and tutorials. Although these seem rather rough by comparison to some of those, it's not exactly unheard of for BlackBerry to leave these things deep within their OS under the assumption they'll never be seen. In this case, it just looks as though they were extracted and shared.
So what's the real deal?
Maybe this is happening. Maybe it's not. There's a lot that's still up in the air.
Is BlackBerry going to push out an Android-powered BlackBerry? Well, that's where it all begins to get a little strange despite all of this evidence. The rumors surrounding the BlackBerry Venice slider have focused on it running Android but for all the Android rumors. But there are just as many rumors that it will be running BlackBerry 10 or some sort of hybrid OS concocted by BlackBerry through their ownership of QNX which happens to have something called the QNX Hypervisor allowing for more than one OS to run. As BlackBerry 10 can already run Android apps through its own Android runtime, for better or worse, this integration would markedly improve that capability.
On top of all that, there's also rumors that BlackBerry will essentially offer two different versions of the BlackBerry Venice slider. One that runs Android with full on access to everything Google and one that will run BlackBerry 10 just like all of BlackBerry's current smartphone offerings. The problem with that is that outside of the rumors, there has been no proof presented of a BlackBerry 10 version existing like there has been of an Android version existing. Absolutely zero leaks have appeared showing the Venice slider running a version of BlackBerry 10, only a single official image from Mobile World Congress, that's arguable whether or not it was even a real device or just something tossed together for looks. Maybe that's because it's not as interesting as a BlackBerry running Android? Perhaps.
Really, though, not a lot has changed since the renders initially appeared which were discussed it on the Android Central podcast. There still are a lot of unknowns here, but we're keeping our eyes on it all just to see how it pans out.
BlackBerry releasing a device the runs Android would certainly be an interesting turn of events and right now, all of this raises more questions than there are answers. Some believe BlackBerry will reveal more details at IFA 2015 in Berlin thanks to a now deleted Reddit post, but that seems like a long-shot as BlackBerry hasn't even been present at IFA in recent years. That said, we'll be at IFA 2015 so if they really do announce some details and it really is running Android, we'll be sure to let you all know.