BlackBerry’s slider-form smartphone, previewed at Mobile World Congress, is apparently set for release in November, with the device to be offered by the big four US operators.
According to purportedly leaked promotional material, the device – codenamed Venice – will give access to the Google Play content store, meaning it is likely to be the mooted BlackBerry powered by Android.
While previous versions of BlackBerry’s own platform have supported Android apps, because it has not used a full Google implementation of Android it has not been able to offer Play Store support – instead offering Amazon’s Appstore catalogue.
Venice will also contain enhancements to the Google platform to support core BlackBerry features, such as its BlackBerry Hub message centre.
Suggested features include a 5.4-inch touch screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 3GB of RAM, and 18MP rear camera. Some reports suggest it will feature a curved screen, similar to Samsung’s Edge-branded devices.
It has also been mooted that another BlackBerry device, codenamed Prague, may beat Venice to market. This is believed to be more akin to the vendor’s earlier Z30, and also powered by Android.
BlackBerry head John Chen recently said that the company will offer fewer new devices in future, as it shifts its focus towards its enterprise mobility software and services proposition.