Ailing phone maker Blackberry has announced a new partnership with Amazon to license the Amazon App Store, which will give its devices access to over 240,000 Android apps.
In an intriguing announcement, when the Blackberry 10.3 operating system launches in the Autumn it will come complete with the Amazon app store – enabling the installation of Android apps. Despite being a different platform not based on Android, BB10 was built to support Android apps – but until now the difficulty has been finding a means to get them on the phone due to a lack of Google Play. Amazon, however, must might be the perfect alternative. It is especially good news for Blackberry owners: in terms of native apps, the platform has been hugely lacking, with many of the apps you’d expect missing.
The news comes as Blackberry is struggling to find its feet. In just a few years, the Canadian firm has lost huge market share to iPhone and Android, and has been haemorrhaging money. What also raises eyebrows is that the announcement comes just hours before Amazon is due to unveil its first ever smartphone in Seattle this evening.
If you’ll allow some wild speculation… could this be the prelude to a more formal tie-up between the two companies? Amazon is increasingly a devices and digital services company that has developed its own distinct “fork” of Android, and could use Blackberry’s engineering expertise… and Blackberry is a hardware company that lacks a viable operating system or product eco-system in which to inhabit.
If Amazon were to buy Blackberry, it would also be able to add a viable messaging product (BBM) to its portfolio – arguably the one last major thing it lacks compared to the likes of Google and Apple.
I wouldn’t expect any announcement from Jeff Bezos this evening, but hey, it seems the two companies will get to know each other a bit quicker after today’s announcement.