BlackBerry prepares to launch its proprietary Android OS

BlackBerry has started partnering with hardware manufacturers to offer its proprietary Android OS called BlackBerry Secure.

blackberry keyboard

Once renowned for offering enterprise-level security to mobile users, BlackBerry is now set to bring the same experience to Android. The Canadian company is partnering with smartphone makers around the world to provide its proprietary version of Google's Android operating system.

BlackBerry is opting a licensing model to enable smartphone makers with a secure Android version called BlackBerry Secure. The platform is a part of the company's strategy, which was originally designed to enter the growing world of Android devices. It includes a list of security features that come pre-installed on the tweaked operating system.

As Economic Times reports, BlackBerry has already partnered with handset company Optiemus to launch smartphones with BlackBerry Secure in India. The Ontario-headquartered company also recently tied up with TCL to expand the presence of its custom Android experience around the globe. In the coming future, the company is set to offer its modified platform through a list hardware manufacturers. "We have a number of different contracts that we are working on right now," Alex Thurber, senior vice president of mobility solutions at BlackBerry, told the Indian newspaper.

Also read: BlackBerry to strike new license deals for tablets, wearables and appliances

It was 2015 when BlackBerry formally re-focused its business strategy and started building Android-based devices. The BlackBerry Priv was the first Android handset by the company followed by the BlackBerry DTEK50. In September 2016, the team led by CEO John Chen even decided to cease its own designing process to start favouring the latest licensing model. The BlackBerry KEYone debuted as the first model through the fresh strategy.

Security for a fruitful return

Google is offering Android's source code under an open source license that makes it free from the restrictions to modify the experience. Companies often deploy their custom skins to distinguish their offerings. But BlackBerry is apparently playing its ace by promoting security features through its own Android version. Some local smartphone makers, especially in developing markets such as India, are likely to be partnered with the company to deliver enterprise-focused functionality along with a privacy layer on top.

In addition to a major target at smartphone customers, BlackBerry is concentrating on "Enterprise of Things" ecosystem that includes wearables, smart TVs and medical devices. This new product segment would also get a flavour of BlackBerry Secure to give a more advanced experience over Google's developments such as Android TV and Android Wear.

Keeping everything into consideration, BlackBerry is seemingly preparing for a major comeback. The company would succeed through its security model to some extent. But, of course, it may face heat from leading players like Apple, Google and Samsung.