BlackBerry buys Android-themed domains, sparks renewed chat about handsets
Rumours about Android-based BB handset swirl despite enterprise focus of ‘AndroidSecured.com’
Canadian smartphone pioneer BlackBerry has registered two Android-themed Web domains, rekindling speculation that it is working on an Android-based smartphone, Reuters reported, citing "several" blog posts.
BlackBerry bought "AndroidSecured.com" and "AndroidSecured.net" this week, following an earlier refusal by BlackBerry CEO John Chen to confirm the Android scheme. But AndroidSecured.com redirects to an enterprise-focused site and BlackBerry already supports Android handsets on its enterprise-focused BES12 device-management system.
In June reports emerged, citing four insiders, of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company's plan to build a smartphone around the world's most popular mobile platform. BlackBerry, once the global leader in smartphones, rapidly lost ground to iOS- and Android-based devices and now has a global market share of less than 1%.
The attraction for consumers to Google's Android and Apple's iOS is widely believed to be the wider choice of apps available for the platforms. Building an Android device could spark renewed interest in BlackBerry handsets.
Despite having experienced a gutting of its market share, BlackBerry has managed to hold on to many of its enterprise customers, based partly on its reputation for security on the BB platform. But security vendors in the UAE have repeatedly told ITP.net that Android is the most vulnerable among mobile operating systems because it has the largest install base. According to Reuters, this remains a concern for BlackBerry's Chen, who has said at least twice in the past three weeks that a handset using Google's OS is only viable if BlackBerry can figure out a way to "secure Android".
The Canadian company on Friday made some effort to defuse the rumours by announcing in an email: "BlackBerry frequently registers domain names to support the breadth of our cross-platform portfolio. Android is an important part of our cross-platform enterprise software strategy."