BlackBerry to retire its OS after "losing community"

BlackBerry may finally be retiring its operating system, with one analyst saying going with Android may be its best remaining option.

At CES 2016, the company confirmed that it had no current plans to release any devices with its BlackBerry 10 OS installed.

Instead, the company will be throwing all its eggs into Google's basket, potentially releasing two new Android devices in 2016.

"At the end of the day it is a recognition that BlackBerry is losing its community and the fact that even the BlackBerry messaging platform is not sufficient enough to entice clients," analyst house Creative Intellect UK's founder, Bola Rotibi, told IT Pro.

"However, if they supported the Android OS then that opens up the way to leverage their value proposition and what they have been famous for to a much wider community."

The decision comes off the back of the launch of BlackBerry's well-received Priv its first device to run Android rather than the company's own software.

CEO John Chen described that handset's sales as "so far, so good" in an interview with CNET, and said that he was "cautiously optimistic" about the device's potential.

The company is planning to expand sales of the Priv to a number of other countries over the course of 2016, which is set to be an important year.

If BlackBerry cannot reverse its slump, which has seen its hardware business plummet in profitability over the past decade, then it may face the axe in favour of a service-based model.

BlackBerry 10 may not be gone forever, though. Chen refused to confirm that the software had been completely abandoned.

In fact, it's currently in the process of receiving national security certification, which would clear the operating system for deployment at the highest levels of US government.

This could see BB10 make a return as a purpose-built security-centric operating system, in the model of Blackphone.

However, consumers looking for a new BlackBerry in 2016 will have to settle for Android, as the company is not reviving its classic software any time soon.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.