In deal with Amazon, BlackBerry to offer 240,000 Android apps

TORONTO Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:29pm IST

Passers-by walk in front of a BlackBerry service centre in Jakarta September 25, 2013. REUTERS/Beawiharta/Files

Passers-by walk in front of a BlackBerry service centre in Jakarta September 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Beawiharta/Files

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TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd has agreed a licensing deal with Amazon.com Inc that will let the Canadian smartphone maker offer some 240,000 Android applications from Amazon's app store on its line-up of BlackBerry 10 devices this fall.

The move allows BlackBerry to add a vast array of consumer-focused apps to its devices, and to focus on developing enterprise and productivity applications, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said in a statement on Wednesday.

BlackBerry customers using devices powered by its 10 operating system will be able to access popular Android apps such as Groupon, Netflix, Pinterest, Candy Crush Saga and Minecraft.

The apps will be available on BlackBerry 10 devices from this fall, when the company rolls out the BlackBerry 10.3 operating system, the statement said.

The move is the latest by the smartphone pioneer to streamline its focus as it attempts to reinvent itself under new Chief Executive John Chen as BlackBerry phones have lost ground to Apple Inc's iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy devices.

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 automobile 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.

Chen intends to build on those ties and BlackBerry's touted security credentials to allow these enterprise clients to build and customize in-house corporate and productivity applications for their employees.

"Making the Amazon Appstore available on BlackBerry 10 devices will help BlackBerry continue to meet two essential needs: greater app availability for our smartphone users and enhanced productivity solutions for enterprises," Chen said in the statement.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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