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BlackBerry Venice gets a hands-on treatment, shows off customization and more

The BlackBerry Venice has been the talk of the town for quite some time already, and now new images have surfaced showing off even more of the phone. As our first decent look at the operating system it will run, it resembles a very stock Android style, with custom icons. Additionally, there seem to be some extra shortcuts that pop up with the long-press of the home button, which usually brings up Google's app.

The menu looks very similar to Samsung's current Android menus, with the options broken down by category. When it comes to specs, the rumored stuff all seems to line up meaning there's a Snapdragon 808 processor in the device, 3GB of RAM as well as an 18MP camera with a 5.4-inch display. One interesting tidbit, which we've heard before and gets noted here is that when the phone boots up, you'll see an image of a bugdroid holding up a shield. Alluding to the secure Android backstory BlackBerry may tell when the device goes official.

Previous rumors have called for the device to be released at some point in November, but as of right now BlackBerry has still yet to make any official announcements or even admit the devices existence, though it is expected they'll be making an announcement soon as their Q2 Fiscal 2016 earnings report takes place on September 25th.

Source: Android Authority

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.
85 Comments
  • We live in strange times.
  • Nothing strange about adopting the most popular mobile OS on the planet.
  • Curved Glass for less. Galaxy Note 4 {Sprint 5.1.1}
    3-day Power with a 9600mAh Extended Battery.
  • This will either be a massive success (assuming BlackBerry gets its massive amount of contracts on board) or an epic fail and the last hurrah of BlackBerry. There doesn't seem to be a way for this to work out "ok". Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think about 50% of current bb users will buy it. I think a very large number of current converts from bb to Android will buy it. And I think a large amount of recent converts from bb to iPhone will buy it because they don't like ios. I think it'll do fairly well, but will really depend on support and the experience of this current device to determine if they will survive. If it's good, I think they'll quickly grow into a market share spot somewhere between lg and Samsung. If it's not good, sell you BlackBerry stock fast.
  • I think you are way off. If it gives BB a. 1% bump I would be surprised +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • I could be. I think the determining factor between our predictions will be marketing. And if the retailers push it or not. Having worked retail, it's sad to know that sales are often pushed by what competitions the oems are doing for the sales force, not by what device is best for the customer.
  • Very true., but those contests are driven by money so it depends on BB +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • They do have lots and lots of cash, so I think they could push this pretty hard, and price it right.
  • If BlackBerry can send their market share on an upward trajectory (even slowly but surely), it's a success.
  • Not if they lose another billion for 1%,it is a loss +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • They're not aspiring to lose money anymore, thankfully.
  • No one ever is, but at this point I think it is inevitable with them and HTC. I am looking cross-eyed at LG as well with their whopping 172k profit. I spent 1000s of less manhours to make half as much profit... That always makes me giggle a bit +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • The difference between those two companies is BlackBerry has a more diversified portfolio in the form of software & services offerings.
  • Will hardly make a dent Posted via the Android Central App
  • You guys have been saying that for like like a decade, yet blackberry is still a functioning company. Whether or not it's a huge success is yet to be determined but I highly doubt the outcome of this will determine whether they shut down completely or not
  • In my opinion BlackBerry is destined to live on, but only as a software services company (obviously not Operating System software). I can't see this phone (or anything) saving the hardware side of the business. Sometimes it's just too late. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hmmm. The ONLY high-end Android device on the market with a physical keyboard, and "There doesn't seem to be a way for this to work out ok"? Seriously? 1. It's an android device with Google Services
    2. It's of highend build
    3. It's using Samsung technology
    4. This device has NO competition Why wouldn't it sell?
  • Sure, it has no competition. This does beg the question, though, of whether that is because nobody has yet produced a device to compete with it, or if it is because the market for it no longer exists. I'm not saying it's one or the other, but I hope Blackberry has answered this question and acted accordingly. Personally, I would like to see this succeed, if only because more competition is always a good thing for the consumer.
  • Its 2015, does anyone really need a physical keyboard on their mobile devices anymore?
    It seems like its taking a step backwards. Maybe BB knows something,, there must be a high enough demand for a physical keyboard i guess,
  • I think it will be a hit or at least I'm tempted to go back to Android. Due to my duties at work I needed a proper phone but Android didn't meet my expectations, Blackberry was an option but BB OS is unofficially dead for good (main reason for not choosing BB Passport)and iOS, well the joke tells by itself... At the end I got a Windows Phone from HTC. Merging Blackberry and Android will approach a large number of users. And the good thing is that all these handy apps from WP ecosystem that I love (Outlook, Office Mobile, OneNote, Cortana, Groove, etc) are now available for Android OS. If the next Microsoft Lumia 950 is disappointing, my choice will be this Venice gadget.
  • This device looks very promising. I hope it has a good camera on it and I may get. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I would get it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I hope they get some success. It's definitely an interesting device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Still looks cool to me. I'm looking forward to its release. Posted via the Android Central App
  • have loved this formfactor since the days of pre.
    but please, please pleeeeeaaaseeeee blackberry.
    make one at less than 5 inches.
    i don't even mind if it has to be half an inch thick then.
  • Release it already! I want this phone!
  • Looks interesting. I've never been a blackberry fan but the fact that it has Android on it means it's likely to be my first BlackBerry branded device. Let's see what happens. ☺ Posted via the Android Central App
  • If priced right, it should do well..... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Good design. Solid looking and build. Good display. And have physical qwerty keyboard. Love it Posted from my Samsung Galaxy S6
  • I think it has the potential of reeling back former BB users that migrated to Android. Allow them to download their Google Play library to a BB device with a hardware keyboard might be a very sweet selling point. I might consider buying this to invest in the local economy (Canadian hey) but my LG G3 (and it's younger sibling the G4) will be very tough to beat.
  • Buy syrup from the cartel, better investment +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • You think that they would manufacture in Canada?! Very unlikely at this [financial] point, but hey - fingers crossed! I wish them the best. We need more relevant and string OEMs and it would be nice to see more OS platforms as well, but since iOS and Android has so much of the market share, only MS w/ Windows can afford to give it another shot. Speaking of which, can't wait to see their all new Win10 phone via AC App on
    VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • Keyboard still seems out of place. Also, I feel 95% of these material wallpapers being used lately are completely ugly hoping the trend dies out soon.
  • Disagree with your first sentence 100% but agree wholeheartedly with the second. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't get it, how do I Swype on this? /s
  • 1. Don't activate the physical keyboard 2. Type /s Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have been wanting a hardware keyboard for years. I would seriously consider getting this depending on pricing and its hardware specs. Ooooh, and it that a FRONT-FACING speaker I spy as well?
  • I want a classic blackberry format with android more than I want this. But if nail the battery life and the camera is at least in the same ballpark as this years greats then I am good to go.
  • I dunno. I was an avid BB user until BB10 came out, and decided to ditch my Torch2 and go with the Galaxy S4, which I still have, and am not feeling like I need an upgrade every year like I did with the BB. As usual though, Blackberry is about 3 to 5 years behind. This very thing was suggested many times back then, and the idea was ridiculed. Now, here they are, tail between the legs admitting that maybe Android really may the thing after all. Even if this unit is good, even if it is a smash hit, I'm going to pass on it. I don't care to have to constantly hurry up and wait anymore for Blackberry to move on anything. I'm done.
  • New CEO new ideas Posted via the Android Central App
  • To be fair, they can easily rationalise this decision by pointing to android being much more secure than it was in the past so they don't have to compromise in that area now.
  • I wish it wasn't so big.
  • Same.
  • This device is going to be a huge disappointment to Blackberry fans if it ships with only Android as an option. I know I will be. On the other hand this could be an industry first if Blackberry decides to give users the option of having the OS of their choice installed on it, and even more so if it gives users the option to switch between them via flashing.
  • Dual boot is a pipe dream (which I think would be a confusing and expensive nightmare in reality). As for going Android only, I doubt BlackBerry are worried about disappointing a few die hards given the prospect of appealing to a much much larger user base.
  • Indeed, the only way it could be dual booting would be at the expense of not having play services on the device, which would seem to defeat the point of the device in the first place.
  • BB can't ensure security on if they allow flashing of custom ROMs.
  • Not to mention that no carrier would consider touching a device like that Posted via Android Central App
  • The industry is shifting to byod.. I'm very happy Apple is helping this shift
  • There are no blackberry fans.. Hence them making this phone. Learn to adapt the 7 remaining bb fans
  • I'm excited about it. I was a Berry addict back in the day. I don't think it's a game changer by any means but I'd get it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My wife would get this in a heartbeat.
    They will make good sales on this one, but if it's gonna be enough to revive, we shall see via AC App on
    VZW Moto X DE/N7
  • I think it will sell extremely well if it has the Blackberry security imbeded in it. Blackberry has the best security of any phone out there.
  • Not anymore. Knox is right there with them +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • That's true, I forgot about Knox.
  • This device might have Knox baked in.
  • Dude, you know BlackBerry LTD partnered with Samsung to create KNOX right? Google it! I think this will be a game changer. I've been addicted to BlackBerry since the days of the Pearl, and I've had a Torch, Z30 and not im using a BlackBerry Classic, but between one of those BlackBerry's I had a Samsung Galaxy and a Nexus 4. I'm loyal to BlackBerry but I also love the Android experience, especially my Nexus Player. This phone will make a lot of people happy, myself included. Posted via Android Central App
  • Well at this point what do they have to lose Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'd take an LG G4 or Note 4 over this.
  • I still can't figure how they'll keep the thing from tipping right out of your hands. Unless they're making the ass-end weighted? But that would present its own kind of awkwardness. Hmm... Posted via the Android Central App
  • That will be interesting to see - they have experience in this field with the current BlackBerry passport, which is a large device with a low keyboard Posted via Android Central App
  • It is just the screen that moves, pretty much all other components will be in the base to offset any tendency of the device to be top heavy.
  • I was a passport user for 6 months prior to that a Z10 owner for 2 years so been on bb10 for over 2 years. Last few months thought I'd try a Android so I got the LG G4 it's been a nice phone but miss so many BlackBerry features like the BlackBerry hub which is a killer feature and overall communications and to be honest if this came out with bb10 only I would actually think about going back. What would be great is the Android os with the bb10 features which it's looking very likely to have also knowing BlackBerry they will make the most of the cure screen unlike Samsung. So on that note I'm defo buying the slider when it's out and can't wait! Best of both worlds!! Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4
  • I miss a slide out qwerty keyboard. My favorite phone to text on was the htc tylt and g2. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Too big.. Should be 5" screen.. This would be a killer device.. But too big imo
  • So wanting an Android version of the BlackBerry Hub. The #1 feature all BB10 converts pine for and most regular folk don't understand. So if this project brings the Android Hub closer to reality I am all for it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • good news because BB have very good security phone, it is a big move for BB and Android.
  • niiiice :-) drop already!
  • I still find this device hard to believe. Eitherway, looks like a good entry into the Android marketplace. Doesn't hurt it actually looks fairly unique.
  • I think I'll get this. Love the way BlackBerry handles email and security. Posted via the ACA on NEXUS 6
  • Interesting; however, if I buy a BlackBerry, I think I'd get the silver edition BlackBerry Passport rather than Venice running Android.
  • T-mobile isn't getting this one lol
  • Yes they are @evleaks said so and he is very accurate with his information. Also T-Mobile and BlackBerry renewed their friendship very recently and BlackBerry phones are back at T-Mobile. Posted via the Android Central App
  • im utterly sold on this thing, ill be grabbing one just as soon as i can get my hands on it
  • Would be my first bb device Posted via the Android Central App
  • "Property of Research in Motion Limited" - That company hasn't existed for years, they must still have a lot of those stickers hanging around! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why or why was it created with a curved edge screen. I bought the Note 5 over the Edge S6 due to this. Ugh!!!
  • From the pictures the curve is very small, it is only the bezels, and the actual screen part isn't curved at all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Other screenshots on CrackBerry show it does have a curve edge screen. It's easy to see when it's extended.
  • Very interested to see how this phone turns out Posted via the Android Central App
  • Shut up and take my money!!
  • The only way this is going to work for them is if they advertise the damn thing!! Blackberry sucks when it comes to promoting their product. Anyone see a TV spot for the Passport? When was the last BB commercial period? I've owned 3 BB phones including the Z10 before finally giving up on them due to lack of native app support.
  • As someone whose phone trajectory went:
    Nokia dumb phone > BB Curve (os4.x) > HTC G2/Desire Z > Moto X (1st gen) > ? I will be giving this a serious look.
    It needs to feel like pure Android with the likelihood of updates that that comes with. All the other usual things too. I'll be very curious what companies work out in terms of cases with the unique form factor. (this was an issue with the HTC G2 as well)
    Anyway, I look forward to checking it out, and hope it finds a following even if it isn't for me.
  • I owned a blackberry z something and thought it was a pretty nice phone but i am an android guy. But i will say that this phone looks incredible and if priced right i will be buying one. Its prob the first phone since the one m7 that i am completly loving the hardware.