It looks exactly like the device the tech world believes is coming and BlackBerry refuses to acknowledge it. The Android-amped BlackBerry Venice, with its hardware keyboard, has been allegedly exposed in several leaked images, as BlackBerry CEO John Chen continues to guard from giving a definitive answer about leaning on a new OS.
The BlackBerry Venice will, or would, be BlackBerry's first device to run on a third-party mobile operating system, specifically Android. The smartphone would also be the first Android device in a while to offer a physical keyboard.
Whatever flavor of Android BlackBerry adopts is expected to run on a Snapdragon 808 processor and 3 GB of RAM. Reports also describe the Venice as having a 5.4-inch Quad HD display and an 18 MP camera.
Whatever this device is -- a prototype, a fake or a finalized handset-- it at least has two of the elements the Venice is rumored to be packing: a physical keyboard and phablet-sized face. But instead of a 18 MP camera, the device in the image has an 16 MP rear camera.
During a breakfast talk at Churchill Club in Palo Alto, Calif. on Friday, Chen acknowledge that BlackBerry's handset business has struggled, at least in part, due to an insufficient amount of compatible apps. His company's app store can't compete with the iTunes or Google Play stores, but BlackBerry is working on that, he said.
He wouldn't talk about the Venice or any other Android-powered BlackBerry devices. But in talking about his companies partnerships, Chen confirmed, yet again, that BlackBerry, if it'd just answer the question, favors adoption of Android in some capacity.
"If you really want to play in the bigger market, you are going to have to be cross-platform," Chen said of BlackBerry Enterprise's third-party adoption. "You are going to have to have partners; otherwise you go away."
Those same words could be uttered to rationalize adoption of Android. Because if BlackBerry's struggling handset division doesn't leverage Android and tap into a larger market, its hardware business could go away.
"If I can't make money on the phone, I will be out of that telephone handset business," Chen said in an interview. "There is a timeline; I won't tell you when."