Here's why BlackBerry should load the KEY2 with Microsoft software

The battle over the best Android phone heated up this week again with the entirely-expected announcement of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Garnering less interest is the struggling BlackBerry, which recently released its keyboard-centric KEY2, which our Xbox Editor Jez Corden positively reviewed.

I, too, have been using the KEY2 for a few weeks, and like it quite a bit. But I'm confused as to why Microsoft and BlackBerry aren't working more closely on this phone. Because they should be.

Productivity, security, and business

I was at the BlackBerry announcement in New York City for the KEY2 and what struck me was how similar its message is compared to Microsoft's. The focus of the KEY2 is letting you get things done quickly and securely while using familiar BlackBerry hardware (even if it is outsourced to device maker TCL) and a physical keyboard.

Little bits of the KEY2 all revolved around the idea of safekeeping. For example:

  • Its DTEK security checker.
  • Privacy Shade makes it hard for onlookers to read your display.
  • Redactor mode to block sensitive material.
  • Send photos to a locker, prevent cloud saves.
  • A locker to hide and secure apps, documents, and photos.

You can read the rest for yourself in CrackBerry's in-depth review. The point is the KEY2 does wonders for Android and security in such a way that those who work in sensitive areas for a job can feel much safer and more confident in its data protection.

BlackBerry DTEK, redactor, and privacy shade in action on the KEY2.

The broader theme is the KEY2 is not a flashy phone, it's not a consumer-focused Galaxy S9-killer. Heck, it's not even that much of a bargain compared to a OnePlus – but it's a real business phone, built with security and a focus on getting work done when mobile.

Stop me if you heard this before ... but that sounds like Microsoft too.

BlackBerry KEY2 + Microsoft software = obvious

When I spoke to BlackBerry during the KEY2 launch event, the representatives had no answer as to why they don't work more closely with Microsoft.

Microsoft is known to have quite a few apps for Android including its Launcher, Skype, GroupMe, Office suite, Authenticator, OneDrive, Teams, Edge, Outlook, Wunderlist, To-Do, OneNote, Office Lens, and Remote Desktop. You wouldn't be wrong to say that those apps all have productivity in common.

So why not marry that suite of software to the KEY2's hardware and security features?

Many KEY2 users will install at least some of those apps, as they're quite hard to escape from if you work for a large company or are managed by an IT department.

There is a precedent for this, too. Microsoft and Samsung bizarrely "teamed up" to sell the Galaxy S8 with preinstalled apps (well, someone at a Microsoft Store did it for you). The so-called "Microsoft Edition" of that phone made less sense than Microsoft doing the same with BlackBerry – at least those two companies are aligned more closely in the enterprise.

Microsoft even sold the Galaxy S8 in its Microsoft Stores. Redmond also sold the Razer Phone, too, so why not the KEY2? The KEY2 already has a hard time finding any physical retailer to give it some shelf room.

And what about branding? Just stack Microsoft's name next to BlackBerry, and it's a big "duh" moment. Everyone would get why these two are working together.

Microsoft and BlackBerry deserve each other

Microsoft and BlackBerry are two companies that both royally screwed up in mobile. Each deserves an award for smartphone product mismanagement.

Because Microsoft has no phone game and BlackBerry is struggling to be relevant, these two companies should team up on a killer business-focused Android phone (e.g. KEY2 or KEY3). It doesn't even have to be fancy; just stick a suite of Microsoft business apps on the phone, maybe add some exclusive Microsoft feature, sell in Microsoft Stores with some Office 365 tie-in, and let BlackBerry (and TCL) handle the other stuff.

Would such a software partnership save BlackBerry or make Microsoft significantly more relevant in the smartphone space? I'm not sure. But both companies could benefit from the partnership. It would at least be more exciting and make the KEY2 that much more interesting for those who wear business suits.

Come on, Microsoft, BlackBerry is Canadian. Just ask them. Even if they turn you down, I'm sure they will be super polite about it.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I could go for this but it'll never happen, in my lifetime that is... Own the Motion and it's been pretty dang good over the past 8+ months I've owned it, definitely exceeded my expectations and still does.
  • Nice looking phone. i still can't see myself going back to android tho. iOS I just don't want too. If Microsoft and blackberry teamed up and made a phone id be all over it, makes the jump i know i have to make eventually less painful. Till then my 950's will be used.
  • Too bad Microsoft didn't buy BlackBerry when everybody was talking about it several years ago, before BB10 and Windows 10 Mobile. If they could have joined together the best features of those into two into one OS (plus the BB keyboard), it would have been such a fantastic business OS. Plus a merger would have made sense for bringing together a lot of their enterprise options.
  • That could've been an interesting proposition. WP would've been way different but it could've been a better OS more like Win desktop than iOS with different UI.
  • Nah, Nadella does not want anything to do with mobile or consumer. This is just speculation, fun to do but meaningless, and will never get of the ground as long as Nadella's bum points to the ground.
  • Maybe in the pre-cloud days, but not anytime over the last 5 years or so. The software side would have been a horrible integration mess and distraction from development and investment in O365/M365. I believe onerous regulatory concessions to keep BES/UEM and the whole messaging stack viable and separate would have been demanded of Microsoft - after all, governments are the likely the largest chunk of Blackberry subscribers by far. Just would have been a horrible drain on resources. Bigger than Nokia, in my opinion. Crippling, as it would have impacted where O365 is now. Apple, on the other hand.... If they wanted to show they were enterprise serious about integrated messaging. BB was tailor made for them to acquire. They could have taken the hardware off life support and nobody would have made any fuss.
  • Just get a key2 and use Microsoft Launcher!
  • The biggest challenge for me is having to carry two phones, one personal, and one for work. If they can address that issue, it's a good place to start. Also, I wouldn't want a phone with a physical keyboard, just takes up too much space.
  • Well, BlackBerry does have other Android phones without keyboards available and coming out. KEY2 is just most prominent right now.
  • Do you seriously think that in 2018, we need a phone with keys? It just shows the inability of BB to come out of it's shell. If there is one company that needs to read the book "Hit Refresh", it's BB.
    And, by the way, what was wrong with Nokia? They are doing way better than BB in terms of innovation. That's a job well done considering Microsoft has stripped them completely and stole their key technologies and employees. They are literally born out of their ashes.
  • You are completely wrong. B.B. has redefined itself when moving to android. They have full screen phones and people still want physical keyboards as well. They just need to re introduce the passport with android. That will be sweet.
  • Absolutely. I still use my Passport and am looking to upgrade to the Key2. I've owned Galaxy Note's since their inception, and tried using the Note 8 to take over for my Passport. I find that when typing emails and doing productivity orientated tasks, I'm a little slower but much more accurate using a hardware keyboard. That's what people like Free-Spirit doesn't quite grasp. Those of us who also do a lot of business on our phones enjoy the ability to use a hardware keyboard and the benefits it brings. If they'd drop a Passport with Android, my love for RIM / Blackberry would sky rocket.
  • Typing on mechanical keys is similar to walking. It's discontinuous. You have to lift you fingers every now and then. The time has come when we must replace mechanical keys with touch based swipe gestures even on laptops.
  • Also love my Passport and would jump on revamped android version. Think the KEYs' (One and Two) screens are narrow. The Passport's is fantastic, although a bit more real estate -by squeezing the bezels, for exemple- would make it a perfect display.
  • Research In Motion, AKA Blackberry, bankrupted itself by moving to Android. TCL now has the license to make the phones, and it's really Blackberry in name only. So I guess if you call bankruptcy and having to sell your name to a Chinese OEM "redefining" yourself... Blackberry used to be the #1 enterprise smart phone. Now it's not even in the top 10 Android vendors. Sad.
  • You have physical keys on your laptop, try writing an email on the bus with your VKB... Once you've used one of these Blackberrys you will be a convert if you use your phone for business... I make far fewer mistakes when typing on mine...
  • you are preaching to the wrong person.... lumberjacks don't write emails.
  • What 2018 or 2019 or 3542 has to do with the actual need of using a physical keyboard (or not)? If there's a niche or demand, the correct is to address that. You have options elsewhere, so, stop being advocate of a future that only exists in your mind.
  • Yes, some of us like physical keyboards because we don't want to look like semi-literate morons in our correspondence. Also, each key can be mapped to a function - from speed dialing numbers to opening apps. I tried glass slab phones and went back to the keys. I will never buy a touchscreen phone as long as BlackBerry (or TCL, or whoever) is making pkb phones.
  • Selling cheap phones does not make Nokia innovative and Blackberry KEY2 is awesome. Best typing experience on the planet. For the same reason i would never trade my surface for ipad. typing on ipad sucks .
  • I hate carrying two phones as well. However, most work phones require you to install their software to be able to wipe it and set certain settings that I wouldn't want on my personal phone anyways
  • But if you're not stuck with these restrictions, any phone with two SIM slots would do the trick. The problem I'd face with my Lumia 950xl is the Quiet Mode. I want to set quiet mode for my personal phone but not business, if I'm on call I'd need to the business SIM to go through Quiet Mode but not my personal. Quiet Mode has only that feature missing, everything else works great besides the fact that you need to use Cortana to configure it.
  • I liked my Lumia 950XL! Now I have a Galaxy S8+ because my broke her phone. I can tell you there are a number of Android apps that do some complex things with Quiet Hours / Do not Disturb like location based as well as time and other criteria. Even changing volume levels. So, maybe they can also treat dual SIM's separately as well.
  • I used a 950XL with two SIMs briefly. The biggest issue that got me off that and onto two iPhones was the fact the 2nd SIM could only access the 2G network. When AT&T turned the lights out on 2G twenty months ago that meant it was really only a single SIM device. It was also annoying that the second SIM couldn't access LTE, so things like visual voicemail wouldn't work. One final issue with a dual SIM phone is that no US carrier will sell one directly. My company will only pay for a phone purchased direct from the carrier. I am considering trying T-Mobile and their DIGITS feature this January when my company will buy me a new phone.
  • The new Note has dual sim capability. Might be worth looking at...
  • I have a 950 XL...on T-mobile...and I am able ti get LTE on my second SIM...
  • It's not possible, post a screenshot. If you are getting LTE on SIM2, then SIM1 is on legacy.
  • Have you never thought of getting a dual sim phone? That's what I have. They're not super easy to find in North America. You usually have to go to a specialty shop or order online, but beats carrying two phones. (Oh, and your second sim has to be on a 3G network or lower)
  • There is a solution for the physical keyboard taking space on such a phone: a form factor like the BlackBerry Priv slider. I would buy one. Priv was the first BlackBerry android phone and therefore had its hiccups - but an upgraded one with MS apps as the focus along with all the BlackBerry security and apps would be a phone I could go for.
  • I'd buy it if it were running Windows, otherwise I'll pass. I miss my 950xl
  • I guess your in the flip phone camp? Luddites that cannot get past stupid fan baby views.
  • microsoft teamed up with nokia.. and that didnt work out for both of them.
  • It did work right up until Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile business. That's not even close to what I am saying here, please read the article.
  • i did. i hope they do team up, but their is not even one collaboration between MS and BB the same way MS and Nintendo are gaming together.
  • It worked until Nadella got in and canned the deal Ballmer had just sealed. Had Ballmer stayed I'm sure Windows Phone would have become bigger, he was a real believer in it, not Nadella.
  • The launch of Windows 10 Mobile and 950/950 XL kind of sealed its fate. Those were not the kind of devices that would sustain or grow Windows phone. Nor did noble attempts from Alcatel or HP. This idea that had they just kept at it today would be different is 100 percent fantasy.
  • It most certainly would have been different if Ballmer was able to complete his vision, and Nadella was left in the hole he came from.
    The fantasy is thinking Microsoft will ever be trusted again by consumers after what Nadella did with WP, WM, MS Band, and countless other consumer projects that left loyal supporters and consumers screwed over.
    Even bigger fantasy is thinking that two failed brands like Microsoft and Blackberry can ever make a comeback in mobile.
  • Balmer's vision was dead when the Lumia 520 failed to drive any significant adoption of Windows phone through repeat buyers and word of mouth. The numerous people who bought the L520 obviously weren't impressed and didn't stick to the platform and didn't recommend it to friends. Windows phone was dead in the water and Nokia knew it.
  • Did the MS band actually sold enough to warrant a third version? For $200 it was very ugly and pricey for what it was.
  • Ugly is the understatement of the year. That thing was hideous. Only the biggest of fanboys would wear that massively thick black contraption. Wearables NEED to look good. There is no wiggle room there.
  • Band was sold at a loss due to the high cost of the materials used including that custom display from Samsung. That and high returns killed it. That's the truth.
  • If there was one company at fault when it came to Windows phones, it was Microsoft. Hardware was never the issue, at least until Nokia was in charge. The problem was the OS. WP 8.1 lacked many basic features that even Symbian had. Nokia even complained but Microsoft was too slow. And their continuous reboots never helped anybody. Microsoft was the weak link here. You should accept that.
  • I'm talking about the Band and was responding to a comment. Please follow and stay on topic.
  • Daniel you seem to be something of an apologist for MS. Can I suggest that you are missing the point that has been made over and over by a lot of folks who feel animosity towards MS for its approach to consumer people. Sure, you could be right abput BB and MS getting into bed but in my not so humble opinion you do not take two failing businesses, merge them and expect anything but a bigger failed business unless you get really big investments by the CEO in terms of time and public committment. That's where MS in the shape of Nadella metaphorically cut the throats of many supporters.
  • If that's not what your saying why bother? Wouldn't you just do an article on how to install already available Microsoft apps on blackberry. I couldn't pick up what role Microsoft would play from the article.
  • Because it's an interesting discussion and Microsoft has done this before with Samsung. I literally can't make this any more clear. I'm not here to make up for your reading comprehension issues, or why I write things. If you don't find it interesting, or can't read the article, no need to comment.
  • I found it interesting to read and i did.
    But i don't see how selling oem phones with no Windows in the Microsoft Store benefits either party.
    Having Microsoft install the software in your blackberry for you as opposed to you doing it yourself ...i can't see the benefit. But I'll take that i have comprehension challenges as you've advised.
  • It worked out for them till Nadella came in and sabotaged the mobile business. And Ballmer goofed up massively in the sense that he bought feature phones business and left here maps behind.
  • They could make a Galaxy Note 9 competitor...I'd be hard pressed to think of a scenario where an Android phone would require 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage (even with DeX)..but if Blackberry made such a phone with Windows 10 on ARM on it...bam! A true productivity phone that, when connected to a bigger screen, becomes an instant PC that can even run (to a limited extent) x86 productivity that apps you will never find on Android.
  • "They could make a Galaxy Note 9 competitor..."
    Let's not go down that ridiculous road. Funny how LG, HTC, Motorola can't even compete against Samsung, yet Microsoft is going to drop its PC business again, waltz in and "just make one"? Even if they started today, earliest it would be here in late 2019, maybe 2020. You need a good 18 months. I think sticking to the simpler solution that is low-risk and low-cost makes much more sense.
  • Andromeda is that answer and has been in the work for a while now.
  • I believe they should let HP make their mobile device instead of a in house Andromeda Surface because their X3 was the bomb. But they should wait for Windows Core OS to be done, I think what they want to do with it could be good for their vision of mobile.
  • I tend to agree, nice idea. Only thing is that Azure is so screwed up, they have no time to think about edge devices.
  • Are you really serious, or you just wanna write a comment?
  • Since you're talking about a special alignment with Windows, do you remember the phone Microsoft made that was actually android-powered but actually had tiles on it for the interface. Why not work with Blackberry on a phone that had that interface and still has all of the security that Blackberry brings the table plus Microsoft software?
  • The thing about making a *Insert product here* killer/competitor is that it's liking making a movie with the specific intent of winning an Oscar. It becomes formulaic and boring and usually fails to meet its goal. At best, it just plays second fiddle to what it's trying to dethrone and at worst, it's the cable version of its target. The world is filled with cases like this. Items need to be a product of passion if they're going to become the next big thing. I'm convinced that the reason Surface has become so successful is because Panos is passionate about the product line and is just out there to make awesome gear. If his whole concern was to make a better iPad or Macbook, Surface wouldn't be nearly as great as it is.
  • Black Surface or Surface Berry? Either way I would definitely buy one, my 650 XL LTE
  • The problem with naming everything "Surface" is that if they really screw up one of those devices it will hurt the reputation of the other products.
  • Surface name on an Android device?
  • LOL, like last nail in coffin
  • *starting to show signs of ageing..
  • THANK YOU! I remember making this argument years ago!
  • Yeah this editorial made me think of you.
    I think something like this would be fun to try out!
  • Good article and a great idea. I'm on board with it, but not with that phone exclusively. Get BB and MS together, discuss this, and do it with a future but more powerful and refined KEY3 and KEY3+
  • How about Sony? They're struggling too, but still doing a little bit better than BB.
  • It's more than just struggling, it's about the alignment of ideas/demographics/work. Not sure Sony has that same goal or interest.
  • Remember that Sony doesn't only make phones, they have several things that they make. Sony will be just fine, even though their mobile division is struggling.
  • If MSFT & BBRY came to make a phone along with the offer of a Surface Go. I believe sales would eventually satisfy the collaboration. Just no holding back on the the phone features.
  • Last time a phone manufacturer and Microsoft teamed up didn't really work out for that phone company
  • Samsung? They seem fine. You don't recall the Samsung Galaxy S8 being sold in MS stores with pre-loaded software? I mention it in the article and I'm using that as the template here, thought that was evident.
  • I think he meant Samsung etc. Windows Phones
  • Didn't Samsung come out and say they had nothing to do with that? Also, didn't it not have preloaded software, Microsoft would just install their apps for you after you buy the phone from them?
  • Yes, I linked to that in the article and in fact, said all of that in the article. And they had something to do with that, I mean, Microsoft didn't raid a Best Buy to get those Galaxy phones.
  • Really? One would think its obvious he meant Nokia.
  • Oh, I'm aware. My point in the article and the framing of the argument was about Microsoft selling a Samsung phone and Razer phone in their store and online and pushing that line of thinking to BlackBerry too. The fact he missed that central tenet and started talking about Nokia - which is NOT what I was inferring, is, well, besides the point and not a counter-argument. You would think that would obvious to anyone who read the actual article vs. just the headline, right?
  • they are trying to promote arrow, and that is miserable on a bb keyboard. specifically the ms/swift keyboard. shortcuts??? swipes???
  • I would buy a Blackberry if Apple buys them and put the iOS on it....That would become the king of secured Phones!
  • Sorry but I wouldn't buy an iBerry.
  • I would buy an iPhone if they put windows mobile on it... just like I thought about buying an apple PC/laptop 20 years ago
  • While I was never a fan of Blackberry, I did have some hands with BES and I can't knock the security factor. Now if they both join up, I may be interested
  • A good start would be if the security features BBRY has added to Android were all exposed for setting via Intune. Intune can't controls so many parts of Samsung Knox it's pretty lame.
  • Er, no.
  • I always wished they would have bought Blackberry instead of Nokia. I dreamed about having the HUB on Windows Phone. If they did this, it might get me off of iPhone. I thought it would be Andromeda, but now that's in the air. I miss my 1520 days.
  • Your closing line...😂, being from Canada, "I Resemble that Remark". Of course that would mean Microsoft would have to play their Trump Card.
  •, they shouldn't. Two utter failures don't add up to anything but a bigger failure. Windoze 10 mobile is a horrible OS, and deserves extinction.
  • Please, Paul, I really need you to read the article before commenting. I'm doing that for your own good because your comment makes zero sense, or rather, is off-topic (at least), a straw man at worst. Not only did I never mention Windows 10 Mobile once, I didn't suggest they should use it. What I did say is BlackBerry (TCL) should work with Microsoft to pre-load Microsoft Android apps on their phones e.g. KEY2, sell them in Microsoft stores. I suggest you re-read this and adjust your comment, maybe switch to the criticism to something I can actually respond to. Thanks!
  • As someone who is still holding on to his Lumia 950 and absolutely hates the iOS/Android platform I'm still hoping in the next year or two that a new player comes into the mobile scene. I'll take anything at this point as long as it's not Apple or Google.
  • Current mobile scene is done, it will be nearly impossible for anyone to break in with a new platform and touchscreen slab. Only chance is to bring what is next, releasing something revolutionary like the iPhone in 2007.
  • im with you. lol i have my windows phone still.
  • I absolutely agree with Mr Rubino here. This should have happened during the Windows Phone 7 era. I hated giving up my Lumia Windows Phone. It would be great to have WP with a real keyboard.
  • It's all about passion! BB has lost it. Nokia has still got it.
  • Nokia doesn't have any mobile passion. Regardless of how HMD Global is a walk away from Nokia's headquarters or that it is being headed by many ex-Nokia and ex-Microsoft Mobile execs, it is not Nokia as we know it. That company is currently only in telecom infrastructure business.
  • Nokia is a joke right now.
  • Can't believe you said that.
  • Hi Daniel, I take issue with your triteness in that comment. I have a Nokia 8 for 12 months now (replacing my 930 after the announcement that MS was dropping W10m) which is a super phone with great specs and latest stock android updating monthly! Except for wireless charging it is the dogs cahones! Nokia is no joke! They are on a slow roll and releasing great cost effective phones at a steady clip. Even the retro 3310 and 8110 are brill for my kids as we have to stop their growing addiction to their devices before they all will be needing glasses. If the 8110 got WhatsApp I would even test it out as a daily driver!
    What MS did to the old Nokia was a corporate crime but I have moved on somewhat at this point. I keep my old 930 on its wireless charger as an alarm clock and sometimes think about trying it out again ,but am now so used to google pay I don’t think I could revert without a digital payment solution included. I feel trapped into Google or Apple and this is entirely the fault of MS. The 8110 with WhatsApp may be the only realistic third option if it ever transpires.
    Nokia or HMD are trying hard in face of fierce competition. Their lineup of phone products is broad and growing and I really hope they prosper to provide us all with options to break the current duopoly and restore themselves post MS’s screwups.
    I write this on an IPad I bought a few months ago after reluctantly conceding that it’s the best tablet available (But now there is the surface go.😑)
  • They have good phones with a relatively good update policy for Android and little bloatware compared to some other Android oems, which shows in their recent success (in Europe at least).
  • Reminded me of something Vic Gundotra had said a while back: "two turkey's do not make an Eagle"...
  • I really hate formulaic thinking and phrases. It's not a substitute for a proper refutation of an argument, it's avoidance of one.
  • As long as it is a Windows phone, not Android, this would make perfect sense. The only reason for MS to be in the hardware business is when it serves as a showcase for their OS and software, which is their core business (not hardware). I am eagerly awaiting the next Windows phone, whether they call it a phone or not (naming and name changes have been a historical issue for MS), so that I can upgrade my aging Lumia 950XL. As long as it can make phone calls, receive SMS messages, and perform data-related tasks, especially the millions of legacy win32 desktop applications that businesses rely on, this will be a game changer.
  • This made me laugh 😅
  • Curious, what about putting Microsoft software on a BlackBerry phone is funny? You don't think BlackBerry users already leverage Outlook, Teams, Skype, OneDrive, Edge, Word, etc?
  • Yep. My KeyOne is full of MS apps, and I use them all the time. It's the perfect companion to my Surface. Once you disable all the pre-loaded Google apps and set up sync to OneDrive, you're completely in the MS ecosystem. I would love to see BlackBerry phones on sale at MS stores. No contracts, and for the same price as Amazon.
  • No its just that i don't foresee ANY time soon with disgraceful, lying Nadella in charge Microsoft will ever go to Mobile market ever again. This just would not happen at all.
  • As of now, there are no BlackBerry devices available for Verizon Wireless customers. If Microsoft wanted to return to the mobile device market in any form, it needs to stop avoiding Verizon Wireless, Sprint & US Cellular, and, release a product that will be able to work on the networks of those providers. Verizon Wireless is starting to restrict access to the legacy CDMA network in preparation for the December 2019 shutdown, so, the cost of CDMA certification is no longer a factor. Time for Microsoft and/or BlackBerry to get cracking.
  • I'm sorry, but none of that makes any sense to me. I'm surprised BB has any legs at all, and that device is at LEAST as horrific as the proposed Andromeda device. Exchanging one FAILED partnership with another one is the definition of "bad idea". Microsoft has given up smartphones for all intents and purposes, sticking with the "me, too" apps for Android as its biggest potential to keep some users in their ecosystem. They clearly have NO ambition to do MORE with that, even though they COULD. I've TRIED to make a test Android device into a "Windroid" and the experience is lame at best. The worst of it is Cortana. Unless Microsoft was to get serious and figure a way to enable the same capability with Cortana that it has on Windows Mobile and Windows PCs--or AT LEAST as much as Bixby is on Samsung's devices--Cortana will disappear (especially since Amazon is now making serious inroads to the PC). Also, there's clearly no interest by Microsoft in SERIOUS integration of their services in Android, except in passing with a few apps. In the end, all they have is a collection of their apps and a really bad Launcher that brings virtually none of what was good about Windows Mobile to the table. I just don't see ANY way Microsoft makes it with their own Android device, even if it's made by someone else. The best they can hope for is to figure a way for any given user to load up and configure their device of choice with a FULLY integrated suite of a better Launcher, Cortana and their entire app/service suite in a way that literally transforms the Android device. That isn't going to happen. Google won't let them. I'm actually shocked Samsung has gone as far as they have. But even that's not enough, in my book.
  • Blackberry Keyone is a pretty cool device however (though the Priv was better designed imo), the shortcuts and possibilities they build in the physical keyboard (even swiping etc) is pretty cool and handy, so it is not that surprising the brand still has legs (/loyal fan base).
  • I thought I would see Jason Ward under the title.
    Surprised that we are now entertaining these fantasies. Microsoft finished all the goodwill we had for her phones. That device market is closed to them now.
  • The best move Microsoft made was to acquire Nokia. They really had it going back then. They should have kept the momentum and do everything in their power to keep it alive. Everything else is just bs. Blackberry? And Android phone from Microsoft? Are you really that desperate? If they make something with Andromeda device that will be good otherwise there's nothing that can replace or come even close to a Windows phone experience!
  • "And Android phone from Microsoft?"
    Did you read the article? No. I said load the KEY2 up with existing Microsoft software. Pay attention, please. This isn't hard. Where did I say Microsoft should make an Android phone? I said leave the hardware to BB/TCL and let MS just add some software to it. I really need you guys to read what I write if you want me to respond against your criticism of it, but if you make up stuff that I didn't say (or imply), well, then I'm afraid that's the end of the conversation.
  • "Microsoft finished all the goodwill we had for her phones. That device market is closed to them now."
    But Microsoft does make software for Android. So, how is preinstalling that on a BlackBerry "a fantasy"? Your quick dismissal and slight against another writer is no substitute for addressing my main point here.
  • Pleas no. With Microsofts current management and (lack of) visible strategy in mobile, partnering up with a half dead brand would just end up as another Nokia-esque disaster. An Android based phone with Microsoft focus is available for everyone already, just download the apps from the store. This would just be another half-baked solution that MS will abandon in less than 2 years along with burning a partner. Either MS enters the market for real and stays in the fight this time (meaning their own flagship device each year and putting in the work to properly support/optimize windows for mobile) or they should just leave it alone and fade as an OS provider along with the decline of the standard pc-market until Google/Aapple take over the majority in the gaming and business market too. I do not like either brand particularly but at least they not only seem to have a strategy but also stick to what they say for more than 2 seconds in a row when it comes to OS and hardware. MS does have a very successful and excellent cloud and service structure. If they actually want to be more than that (more precisely: get back to being more than that), they need to show some real action (not just the um-teenth partnership that is about as attractive as a fart in an Elevator in my opinion). Most importantly they need to publicly lay out a strategy and stick to it, showing customers they are trustworthy outside of their office365/cloud business. I love MS (realyl I do) but after the last 5 years, concerning OS and Hardware, I trust this company slightly less than those nice gentlemen from Sambia who want to send me lots of money if I just provide them with some ID and credit card details via mail ...
  • "This would just be another half-baked solution that MS will abandon in less than 2 years along with burning a partner."
    Talking about preloading existing Microsoft Android apps on a KEY2 and stocking them on store shelves like a Razer Phone. I think you're looking too hard at this as something else akin to Nokia. I didn't make that argument, so straw man?
  • Blackberry's sync client was really good too, way better than the p.o.s that we got after zune was wacked out of existance. I was a blackberry user for awhile and really liked the hardware. After moving on from symbian in the form of Nokia E61 (I still have that phone somewhere...) and even had a small biz fixing and customising blackberry phones when BBM was THE platform to be on and Blackberry was called RIM. I got my blackberry parts from When I started using windows mobile 6.x via HTC Touch Pro 2. I always wondered what it would be like if Microsoft and Blackberry partnered up to make a phone. One of the primary reasons I got the touch pro 2 was the physical keyboard. Because I knew Blackberry's time in the sun was going not to last when the apps in their store cost 10 times the amount it cost in the ios store. I had to rewire my own thought processes and learn how to touch type on a touch screen phone, multiple times i found myself cursing lol at the lack of tactile feedback. The qwerty keyboard of the touch pro 2 was a God send in that regard. Made me miss blackberry's portrait keyboard even more. Having used blackberry's office suit to type up multiple contracts. Their office suit was clunky, I often found myself lamenting the inability to do basic things. Which got me wondering microsoft word would be perfect for blackberry. You could use word and excel on symbian lol... The longest blackberry phone I used was the bold 9700 (with a side loaded Curve 8900 theme - indigo) and bought that full price too off amazon. But after it's screen died, I got a full refund. I couldn't fix it, they glued the front case ontop of screen (hence why I maintain the L920 is the first phone I bought full price and that I still have the Lumia 920). After Blackberry started using glue on all their phones, the repairability of their phones became diabolical. Another concerning point for me was that the mobile internet apn used to route through their servers instead of directly through the service providers. That must have been costly to provide. I get that it provided additional layer of security, but it also has an inherent flaw if anyone compromises a node... but that is also true for general mobile internet as well... so didn't stress too much about it. But here is the kicker, since it was going through their servers it would mean i was going to get charged for internet use. Despite paying for unlimited internet with my service provider. So I had to call up blackberry and sort that out as well as O2 as both reps from the companies admitted that would be the case. Since it was an inherent infrastructure and software design not an opt-in for the functionality. They waivered any additional charges. The blackberry o/s was pretty sleek, the auto timeout and screen shut off bugged me for awhile when it was added as it meant I couldn't see the theme's locked screen and by extension notifications but battery life improved by 20%. I loved the fact when it went into battery saver mode it would turn off all unnecessary apps and radios to conserve power. Everything about the blackberry o/s was pretty sleek. I missed it, at first when I got my touch pro 2 I wanted to shoehorn a blackberry o/s type theme into it lol. But the sense UX grew on me and that was that. After all these experiences (which is primarly based on the o/s experience before bb os 7) , I agree Microsoft and Blackberry should partner on a phone. However that doesn't give Microsoft a free pass in not having a solid mobile offering of their own. Plus they still need andromeda otherwise cshell, windows core, uwp and project midori make zero sense and would be a waste across the board. Anyway, I would love to use the blackberry keyboard again. Another thing I still miss is that customisable LED notification. A Blackberry windows phone...with pureview, led notifications and a physical keyboard that would've been ace.
  • Great idea Daniel, I switched from Windows phone to a KeyOne and love it's two day battery life... I have all the MS and Blackberry apps installed and have disabled all the Google ones... Miss my Windows phone but for productivity this is the perfect phone...
  • Yes, microsoft should just buy blackberry, the smartphone business can be offloaded to samsung if it doesnt work out for them. They want that software business, that added security and its customers.
  • They really do align in several keys aspects. Can't like Android a lot, but I consider this proposal interesting, to say, erm... at least. It will need more Microsoft pedigree to make it work like old times with the old WinMo. Microsoft doing heavy marketing for a phone like this focused on enterprise wouldn't be a home run for consumer market, but I would love to have one. It's impressive how this phone stands out from the sea of cloned iPhoneXes we see today.
  • My apologies for not reading through your article and this comment is just based on what I noticed from the title and skimping through.... firstly, Blackberry is from China, not Canada. Secondly, it is not their fault, it is Microsoft's. Since the PC leader of the world does not support the BB keyboard hardware properly while chasing Google and Apple, there is no reason for a keyboard fanatic to use their software on BB Android. People who select the BB is only due to the keyboard. Microsoft considers itself the king of the keyboard, killing Mobile. But its vision is all mixed up, seriously. I, for one, switched back from key one to Win Mobile with one of the main reasons being absence of Keyboard hardware support from Microsoft.
  • I have no problems using the keyboard on the KeyOne with MS apps, even Excel. You can also have the soft numeric keyboard on screen all the time.
  • I am now using Blackberry Passport , Blackberry Priv and lumia 950xl ,i think this all will be dead in next year
  • Which of the 3 devices do you prefer?
  • It's an interesting idea, could possibly be a marketing success for Launcher, Office, Outlook, etc and keep Microsoft's name out there as a player in the mobile market. A droid with a keyboard or buy the latest & most expensive phone of the day? It would be like deciding which pair of boots to wear. Do you pick your newest pair or do you wear your old pair that feel great, even though they stink a little?
    I want a Windows Phone with a Microsoft OS (W10M or whatever).
    Would I buy a Blackberry with a heavy, I mean heavy Microsoft integration?
    Make it look and be a different droid experience where you don't even know you're wearing that old pair of boots.
  • Ok Dan, I read the entire article this time. I have an one word answer. HP Elite X3. HP is one of the top players in enterprise market and look how Microsoft treated it. The fact is Microsoft is not good at partnership because it has for a big ego. BB has other problems, lack of innovation is one. Their phones just suck. Accept that.
  • Don't agree with that BB sucks (e.g. Priv was good design and the keyboard features/shortcuts are cool), but I do agree with your point about HP.
  • Microsoft had a perfectly good platform with Nokia but blew it. I shudder to think what they might have done to whatever is left of BlackBerry
  • Microsoft is the undisputed PC leader par excellence. The smartphone remains only as long as one episode in the computer history until the PC as a Pocket PC takes over the market. A return from Microsoft to the smartphone market makes no sense at all.
  • Well it's more or less TCL's venture now, and they have in the past made windows phones via alcatel. So it really doesn't seem like much of a stretch if microsoft wanted it to happen. I reckon windows core would be sweet on a phone with a keyboard. Although that as a possibility is a while off. Android? Well if I HAD to use one, blackberry would be a good choice. QWERTY is bloody sweet next to a software keyboard. But I reckon if windows core doesn't come to an affordable phone before my 950 dies, I might just get a nokia 8110 or similar. I'm kinda into minimalism these days, and a tablet or desktop is never that far away. So long as it's got music, maps, facebook and a browser, who cares.
  • Yeah agreed, a blackberry Priv-like phone with windows core on it would be sweet. :)
  • Microsoft and Blackberry should team up. What do they call it when you do the same thing and expect a different result? Teaming up with a failing phone company worked well before, didn't it? Microsoft turned Nokias 30% market share into a rounding error. You hate Blackberry so much you'd wish Microsoft onto them?
  • I'm interested but I don't see a whole lot of difference between getting an ordinary Android phone and putting all the MSFT apps on there and a 'business-focused' Key2. It's basically the same thing. What I'd like to see is MSFT actually integrate itself into Android. Cortana inbuilt and wakes up phone, a MSFT photos app, Maps so I don't have to use Google maps, stuff like that.
  • The difference is that blackberry also focuses on giving a business phone experience (with not only their hardware designs but also their software), which is key (or keyone) to some companies. Same goes for Microsoft that also does this but more with productivity software than security software. That is why it could be a good match.
    What you wish for with Android is nice and all but I don't think Google will allow that and just put a wedge between that plan (like they did with Windows Phone with the Youtube blockade etc). Google has its claws firm in Android and even prevented their partner companies from starting their own Android forks.
  • Well I for one think it is a good idea, they should start small of course and just gradually try to build something up.
    Atm my dream phone would be a blackberry Priv like phone at ~6-6.5 inch with Windows 10 & telephone-like features/whatsapp on it. That will likely not happen though. x)
  • Why do some of these comments even get posted? All Daniel is saying is Blackberry should come preloaded with MS Office,Edge,Launcher, Skype, and maybe any other viable MS Apps for Android. Suddenly We get diatribes about Windows Mobile and Nokia. That Ship has sailed. Move on. At least read the Article and stick to criticizing the actual ideas in it rather than derailing into WP/WM discussion. Enough already.
  • I would really like to see an Office365 integrated Launcher be Microsoft's focus more than a bundling partnership. Get proper Launcher pages for Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, ToDo rather than widgets. It's just so Microsoft to have Launcher features called Notes and To Do that have nothing in common with the great apps they have called OneNote and ToDo. I mostly think however, they are trying to avoid showing too much favoritism between IOS and Android. Since Launcher can't exist in the IOS world, I'm afraid they'll leave it forever gimped, when it could potentially be a tremendous touch point for them.
  • So that they fail together.
  • The comments section on articles like this underscore one of the biggest issues facing society today - a failing education system and the dumbing down of the populace. Someone at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to sell Galaxy 8s pre-loaded with Microsoft apps to showcase their wares on the highest end phones from the top-selling manufacturer of Android phones. Daniel Rubino thought it would be an even better idea to do the same thing with a phone from a world-class brand of productivity-based phones. His mistake was asking "what are your thoughts on the subject?" The flood gates opened with a torrent of Windows Mobile bashing, Nadella bashing and some odd claims of mental retardation for people who still like physical keyboards. I guess Darwin didn't see this coming.
  • +1. But the comments section is the fun part of WC.
  • Before the Rubino apologist for Microsoft machine moves into top gear; yes, read the article, yes it is not about W10M, yes, the MS Android apps are good. But, as others have tried to say, joining two failures does not make a success. Blackberry is a failing company. Microsoft in mobile is something that most people think of scraping off the soles of their shoes. Notwithstanding the quality of the apps. Go back cap in hand to a success such as Samsung, who also have business security features as well as PC connectivity, and Microsoft might just have a chance to reestablish its reputation in the mobile field. Might just - despite the way the company has treated both consumers and business.
  • Doesn't explain why the sell Razor phones in MS stores. Pretty niche product, maybe even more so than BB keyone.
  • Well we can ownself load ownself for whatever Microsoft android apps we like on any android or blackberry android phone. Just leave these companies alone. 😁
  • I thought the same thing but with Razer and their phone, 120 refresh rate and great graphics, large screen it would be great for business and gaming
  • I don't know about others, but I still remember the $1+ billion Nokia debacle where Microsoft didn't blink an eye to hang their loyal customers and loyal consumers out to dry. There Microsoft had a real chance to make headway in the mobile phone market, and they stuffed it. Almost a year and a half since I was forced to move to an android phone and I'm still struggling to come to terms with the complexity and limitations of android. I dearly miss the simplisity and power of my windows phone with it's live tiles where you can flick your eye over your mobile screen and see all the minute by minute up to date information on what's going on in the world, the global stock markets as well as individual stocks, weather, sports, to name but a few. The things you want to do in android is always hidden a few layers down below the surface, you always have to slide a few times, tap multiple icons a few times before you get to do what you want to do. Throughout the course of the day frustration builds up until you feel you want to throw the phone against the wall. And as for Microsoft and BlackBerry... if Nokia is anything to go by, then forget it. If it comes to be, you would waste your money buying one, like I did when I bought a Nokia windows phone. Also, BlackBerry limits the applications you can use on their phones. You won't be able to communicate with your family and friends through popular chat applications if they don't have a BlackBerry as well. So who wsnts a phone like that? This idea of a microsoft/blackberry partnership is doomed to fail even before it gets off the ground. And whose going to pay? You, the consumer who forked out money for it.