It now looks more likely than not that BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) will use the Android operating system in one of its upcoming phones.

According to tipster @Evleaks, a device called the BlackBerry Venice is headed to AT&T later this year. The Venice will feature a sliding QWERTY keyboard and be powered by Android. Previously, Reuters had reported that BlackBerry was considering such a device.

So, that begs the question: what chance does the Venice have, and what does it mean for BlackBerry?

A potential boost to software

Under new CEO John Chen, BlackBerry is attempting a drastic shift, turning its focus towards software from the declining handset business. This has had mixed results thus far. Until the most recent quarter, software sales had largely been disappointing, and may have been held back by BlackBerry’s damaged brand. Worse still, some large enterprises may still be skeptical of BlackBerry’s ability to handle Android- and iOS-based devices.

So, an Android phone may simply be an attempt to aid the software business. BlackBerry could show that it can handle phones using other operating systems, and may even stem its decline in handset sales. Both would be a major help when pitching its software solutions.

A potential blow to the brand

Despite Mr. Chen’s turnaround efforts, BlackBerry is still largely seen as a company in decline, and that affects all parts of its business. The Venice may only make this problem worse.

It could remind people of when Microsoft Corporation announced a plan to port iOS and Android apps onto its Windows-powered phones. The move was widely seen as a white flag.

In any case, BlackBerry shareholders should be worried. If phones powered by BB10 had a promising future, the company would not be introducing an Android-based phone.

How should BlackBerry shareholders react?

In the past I’ve been very skeptical of this kind of plan. The move could widely be seen as a desperation ploy and end up hurting the company.

On the other hand, this phone could sell like hotcakes. It’s simply too early to know for sure—BlackBerry hasn’t even confirmed these reports. So, we’ll have to wait and see for now.

This should be nothing new for BlackBerry shareholders. The company’s future has been up in the air for years, and there’s no end in sight.

The one stock you want to own for 2015

Our analysts have identified this company as one TOP stock for 2015 and beyond. And here's the best part: you can download the name, ticker symbol, and price guidance absolutely FREE.

Simply click here to receive your Special FREE Report, "1 Top Stock for 2015--and Beyond."

NEW! This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon In 1997

For only the 5th time in over 14 years, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner just issued a Buy Recommendation on this recent Canadian IPO.

Stock Advisor Canada’s Chief Investment Adviser, Iain Butler, also recommended this company back in March – and it’s already up a whopping 57%!

Enter your email address below to claim your copy of this brand new report, “Breakthrough IPO Receives Rare Endorsement.”

Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair has no position in any stocks mentioned.