The move allows the Waterloo, Ontario-based company to add a vast
array of consumer-focused apps to its devices, while at the same
time directing its own efforts toward developing enterprise and
Customers who own smartphones powered by its BlackBerry 10 operating
system will now be able to access popular Android apps such as
Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Minecraft and Candy Crush Saga on their
BlackBerry devices this fall. Google Inc makes Android, the mobile
operating system used in more than a billion phones and tablets.
The apps will become available after the Canadian smartphone maker
rolls out the upgraded BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, the company
The move is the latest by the smartphone pioneer to streamline its
focus as it attempts to reinvent itself under new Chief Executive
Officer John Chen as BlackBerry phones have lost ground to Apple
Inc's iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy devices.
Analysts saw the move as a step in the right direction, but are not
sure whether it will help turn the tide for BlackBerry.
"While this will widen the BB10 app ecosystem, the consumer
smartphone environment still remains challenging," Wells Fargo
analyst Maynard Um said in a note to clients.
Um views the announcement as a positive for BlackBerry, but said
"whether it stems consumer churn remains to be seen."
Chen wants to remain a competitor in the smartphone segment, but is
focused on making BlackBerry a dominant force in machine-to-machine
communications. The company's QNX software already is a mainstay in
the automotive industry, powering electronic and other systems in a
wide range of cars.
BlackBerry already works with hundreds of large enterprise clients,
including corporations and government agencies, to manage and secure
mobile devices on their internal networks.
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Chen intends to build on those ties and BlackBerry's security
credentials to let these enterprise clients build and customize
in-house corporate and productivity applications for their
Last week, BlackBerry announced a deal with EnStream LP, a mobile
payments joint venture owned by Canada's three large wireless
carriers, to provide a secure platform for transactions between
banks and consumers.
These moves, coupled with others made by Chen, including a much
cheered move to forge an alliance with device manufacturing giant
Foxconn Technology Co, have made analysts more optimistic about
Following the announcement of the Amazon deal on Wednesday, BGC
Partners upgraded its rating on BlackBerry shares to "buy" from
"sell," and lifted its price target on the stock.
BGC analyst Colin Gillis credited the upgrade to Chen's moves to cut
costs, forge partnerships and focus in core markets.
Shares of BlackBerry, which reports quarterly results early on
Thursday, jumped 3 percent close at $8.29 on the Nasdaq.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jan Paschal)
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