BlackBerry’s transition to a software and services-based business took another step forward Wednesday with the announcement that the company would make its Hub software available on Android devices running Marshmallow 6.0 or higher.
The Hub+ for Android will be offered as a subscription service, a first for BlackBerry. Previously, Hub software was only available on BlackBerry 10 devices or Android-based BlackBerry phones such as the Priv and the recently released DTEK50.
Hub is considered one of BlackBerry’s stand-out features. It pulls together apps for email, messaging, calendar, contacts and others into one streamlined dashboard.
Hub will be available for free at first with a 30-day trial. After that, BlackBerry will charge 99 cents each month for the software suite.
Looking at the bigger picture, BlackBerry’s decision to unchain its Hub software stems from the fact that its hardware business is slowly disappearing. This means software is the next area for growth.
In its most recent earnings report, BlackBerry’s device business diminished once again while its software services revenue more than doubled.
“Device revenue was below our expectations,” BlackBerry CEO John Chen said on the company’s June earnings call. “We’re still feeling softness of the high end of the market but we have a plan and a road map to drive profitable revenue growth later in the year. In software, we perform well and continue to deliver the robust growth.”