Is this BlackBerry’s First Android Phone?

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For the past month or so, the general thinking around the rumor mill has been that BlackBerry is working on an Android phone. If you can’t beat’em, join’em, right?

Now we’ve got a rough idea of what their first Android handset might look like.

Posted by the endlessly resourceful Evan Blass (aka evleaks), the photo shows a device that appears to have curves on both halves of its display — not unlike Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge. It’s said to be called the BlackBerry “Venice”, though that’s likely a codename.

If you’re paying extra close attention, you might note that the general silhouette of the device is quite similar to something that BlackBerry themselves quietly showed off back at Mobile World Congress in March. That device, however, appeared to be running BlackBerry’s own BB10 OS:

See that slide-out keyboard in the second photo? It’s unclear if the rumored Android build will cram something like that under its curved display; while it seems like a tight squeeze, the leaked render up above certainly doesn’t eliminate the possibility.

Including a slide-out keyboard in their first dip into Android would be a good move on BlackBerry’s part. The Android market is filled to the rim with competition — but it’s lacking many phones with solid physical keyboards, particularly if you’re looking for something with up-to-date specs.

A device like this would appeal to an underserved niche and help coax some of the folks clinging onto their aging BlackBerry devices into the brave, new Android-powered BlackBerry world. It won’t let BlackBerry take over the Android market overnight, but it’ll help them get a foot in the door.