BlackBerry will always be a step ahead of Android through enhancements, is open to exploring Android One


BlackBerry, or rather Optiemus has launched two new BlackBerry-branded phones in India. The new BlackBerry phones are called the Evolve and the Evolve X. Although both these phones pack features never seen before in a BlackBerry, they do leave room for improvement in terms of core hardware. The Evolve and the Evolve X are not the most powerful phones at their respective points, but that’s alright. This is because their loyalties lie elsewhere. Much like any other new-age BlackBerry phone, the Evolve and the Evolve X also run stock Android layered with BlackBerry’s suit of enhancements. The Evolve and the Evolve X are being pitched for their security and privacy features. There is a small problem though. Android is getting more secure and private by the day.

With Google’s Android itself becoming more secure and private by the day, it should become a little difficult for BlackBerry to justify its new and upcoming phones. Only, BlackBerry thinks otherwise.

“It’s up to us to explain and show the individuals how as secure as base Android is, the enhancements that we put on top of that (offer more). We are starting to work on Android P already and certainly P is better than O and O was better than N. That’s the wonderful part of our technology world. But we still make significant changes to the operating stack on Android to add additional enhancements. We have not only the productivity applications but also the DTEK application which is unique to BlackBerry. It not only lets the user understand the posture of a phone at this moment but also alerts them if things change down the road,” Alex Thurber, SVP and GM of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry said while speaking exclusively with India Today Tech.

The DTEK app that shows your device security status in real time has been one of the highlights of Android-based BlackBerry phones. The most useful aspect of this app has to be in the way it allows you to manually control app permissions. It gives you even the most miniscule information about an app and also lets you directly allow or restrict certain permissions or to uninstall the app altogether, from within the app itself. The DTEK app can notify you whenever an app like Google requests sensitive data like location and microphone. But with Android P around the corner, Google is itself working on such a feature to let users have control on how third-party apps and services are using your location and microphone data. Android is getting better.

“Android (Google) is investing in developing in security and so are we. You’ll see with our P products as they come later, a new security suit from us as well. So we believe that we can continue to offer enhanced features on top of regular Android software,” Thurber said.

BlackBerry will always be a step ahead of Android through its enhancements, and will continue to make them better with future releases. That’s what would set it apart from other brands, and make it relevant. Now and the future.

“We believe that having phones at the high end of the specifications at great price points will get people’s attention. But at the end of the day the privacy and security protections that only BlackBerry can provide will resonate with users and they will start to understand as we help them understand just how important it is that your phone be protected particularly around privacy.”

And it will be open to explore new territories. Even Android One.

“We are a technology company and we are open to anything. We currently believe that our strategy of working with core Android is the right one especially at the price point that we are working on and at the feature set that we are working on. If we have a licensee who wants us to look at Android One as an option, we will be happy to do that. We are always open to anything,” Thurber added.