Right after the first rumors arrived last month about BlackBerry’s supposed plans to release a smartphone running Android, we started hearing a lot of reports that, while they didn’t necessarily conflict with each other, sure seemed to be going off in different directions. Would that keyboard-equipped slider the company showed off at MWC evolve into BlackBerry’s first Android handset? Would the first such model be low-end or more advanced? And would we see Android editions released for any presently available BlackBerry hardware? Rumors touched on all those points, and on the subject of shoehorning Android onto a current BB10 model, we saw a leak that attempted to reveal the OS running on a Passport handset. Yesterday we saw @evleaks join the rumor-fest with claims about that MWC slider –a device tipped to carry the codename Venice- prepping for an AT&T launch, and now he’s back with another juicy bit of Android/BlackBerry info, leaking the above render.

That sure looks like a Passport to our eyes, and while we don’t get the full view of the screen, it’s pretty unmistakeably running Android. In fact, just moments before we published this post, @evleaks hopped back on Twitter to clear up any confusion, asserting that this is indeed the Passport and establishing that his earlier Venice (slider) comments were directed at a separate piece of hardware.

The creation of a press render like this sure might suggest that BlackBerry’s Android Passport efforts are far more advanced than just some internal testing, and that there really could be plans to develop an Android-running Passport for commercial release. That has us wondering if there might actually more than one Android-based BlackBerry in the running for launch later this year. Sure, the Passport will be getting old by then, but the novelty of a BlackBerry phone running Android, not to mention the release of a new keyboard-equipped Android model (itself a rarity these days), might help win the phone some new fans.

Update: And now @evleaks has another for us, delivering a pic of what’s supposedly Venice itself:

venice-bb-ev

Source: @evleaks (Twitter)

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