BlackBerry may launch Android phone

(Reuters Business Report) – Remember BlackBerry? The pioneering smartphone maker is thinking about doing what was once considered unthinkable: putting rival Android software on its smartphone for the first time. Sources tell Reuters it’ll probably use Google’s Android on an upcoming phone this fall that will combine a touch screen with a physical keyboard. That would give its keyboard-loving fans access to the much wider selection of apps that Android offers.

Such a move would be an acknowledgment that its revamped line of phones hasn’t gained mass appeal. The company had bet big on its BlackBerry 10 line. The problem: it lacks a big lineup of apps. The company that once ruled the smartphone world now has less than a one percent share of the market, so many developers aren’t designing apps for it..

Another reason for BlackBerry to add Android: the company is touting its new mobile management device platform. That system allows institutional clients to manage and secure devices ranging from BlackBerrys to those running on Apple’s and Windows’ operating systems. With its own Android device, BlackBerry could show it’s confident it can manage devices powered by rival operating systems.

BlackBerry shares, down 16 percent this year, rising in early trading.

While BlackBerry has slashed the number of workers in its bid to turn itself around, it says it’s still committed to making devices.