The Canadian company hopes to sell Android app subscriptions to compensate for its falling phone revenues.
(CCM) — BlackBerry is distancing itself from its hardware roots by making some of its phone software available to run on other devices, the company announced yesterday. BlackBerry Hub+ for Android is a suite of apps that were previously only available on the company's own phones but that can now be used on any device that uses Android 6.0 Marshmallow and meets certain performance criteria. The software suite — which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store — includes a unified inbox application, called BlackBerry Hub, as well as Password Keeper, an app that stores passwords in a secure location and generates new ones, and BlackBerry's Calendar app. After 30 days, users can either continue to use the app for free by agreeing to view occasional advertisements or subscribe for 99 cents per month. Subscription automatically unlocks additional apps, including Contacts, Notes, Tasks, Device Search, and BlackBerry Launcher.
The release of BlackBerry Hub+ is part of the company's move to cash in on its software assets to reduce its reliance on its rapidly declining phone hardware business. In 2008, BlackBerry devices accounted for over 20% of the smartphone market compared to just 0.2% today. The company says that it is planning to make Hub+ available to devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop and that it is investigating how to deliver "the BlackBerry experience" to mobile devices running Apple's iOS.
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