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BlackBerry may be looking to reinvigorate its handset sales with an Android-based device with a QWERTY-keyboard slider that will first hit store shelves in November, according to a freelance reporter.

BlackBerry Venice is a smartphone that will feature the long touchscreen and sliding keyboard body that was showcased at Mobile World Congress and run on Google’s Android OS, according to Evan Blass, a former Engadget senior editor. The device will debut with AT&T in the U.S. this November.

According to N4BB, the Venice slider will feature a 5.4-inch quad-HD display, an 18 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front camera, a 1.8 GHz hexa-core Snapdragon chipset, and 3 GB of RAM.

Once the dominant mobile OS in the market, BlackBerry has long been surpassed by the likes of iOS and Android. Attempts to win back marketshare with BlackBerry 10 OS haven’t panned out and since the launch of that effort, BlackBerry has seen a change in leadership at the top. While current CEO John Chen has said in the past that handsets wouldn’t be a major focus for BlackBerry, an Android-based device might be a way to test the waters on whether its brand name still curries favour with consumers when paired with a more popular OS.

Worldwide, Android dominates the smartphone market with a 78 per cent market share, according to analyst firm IDC Corp. Compare that to the meagre 0.3 per cent held by BlackBerry and you can see why Chen might make the move to Android. In 2012, BlackBerry still held 6.3 per cent of the market and Android held 59 per cent.

BlackBerry has long held a reputation as a secure OS, while Android tends to be one of the most exploited by malware. It’s possible Venice could be positioned as a consumer device, where enterprise-grade security isn’t a primary concern, or that BlackBerry will pair the smartphone with its BES 10 server for enterprise clients to provide security assurance.

 

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