BlackBerry may launch second android smartphone in 2016

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BlackBerry Priv review: curved screen and slide out keyboard but three years late.

TORONTO: BlackBerry’s pivot to software began to show traction, after the company reported a smaller quarterly loss and its first quarter-to-quarter revenue increase in over two years, sending its stock soaring 13%.

In a recent announcement, Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry said that it plans to launch its newest Android-powered flagship smartphone – BlackBerry Priv – in the UAE and Saudi Arabia in January 2016. Significantly, gains in software revenue more than offset a steepening decline in legacy system access fees for the first time, and the Waterloo, Ontario-based company said this trend should continue. Combining the best of BlackBerry’s productivity, security and privacy features with the wide world of Google Play store apps, PRIV is the epitome of form and function, said a statement. The company may break even in the current quarter, but this could be complicated by investments being made toward growing both software and hardware sales, said chief executive John Chen, who sees a return to sustainable profitability in fiscal 2017, which begins March 1.

Thus far, the sales of the handset have reflected a positive growth for the company; with latest quarterly data revealing that the Priv quarterly sales figures have touched 700,000 units. Launching now, (next month in the UAE), the company’s first Android phone is good enough to retain the loyalty of the now really very small BlackBerry faithful, who now have a proper choice of apps to play with. It has been engineered with the world’s finest technology and packaged in an ultra-thin device – including a dual-curved screen, touch and physical keyboards, state-of-the-art 18MP camera, and long-lasting battery – with unique tools that allow users to manage and control their privacy, it said. BlackBerry has staked its turnaround on software and more aggressively licensing its trove of patents after its once-dominant handsets conceded the consumer smartphone market. “BlackBerry hit a software number that investors have been looking for them to hit for quite some time,” said Morningstar analyst Brian Colello. “I think the investment in security, in software, is the right move.” The better-than-expected results were driven by a sharp jump in software and patent licensing revenues and a higher average selling price for phones, driven by the Priv, its new Android-powered device. “We’re planning on other Android phones, but it all hinges on how we do with the Priv,” said Chen at a media roundtable, adding the Priv will be hitting over 30 countries this quarter.

The problem is that at Dh2,899, the Priv, as just another Android phone, has to perform as well as, if not better than the likes of the Galaxy S6 Edge to win people over. Some of the key features of the BlackBerry Priv handset include a 5.4-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 2560×1440 at 540 PPI; Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor; an 18-megapixel rear camera; a 2-megapixel front-facing camera; a 3410 mAh battery; and 32GB of onboard storage capacity, expandable up to 2TB with the help of micro SD cards. The security highlights include advanced privacy controls, secure hardware, verified boot and secure bootchain, and fully supported on BlackBerry’s EMM solution.

As part of BlackBerry’s cross-platform strategy to provide a greater choice of secure solutions to its customers, users will see a seamless merging of key BlackBerry 10 productivity features like the BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Calendar into PRIV. Quarterly revenue fell 31% to US$548mil (RM2.3bil) from a year earlier, but rose 12% from the prior quarter, after nine consecutive quarters of declines.

The Priv is a beautifully designed device, with a curved edge, 5.4-inch Amoled display with a 540 ppi resolution (in line with the LG G4 and just behind the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge), offset by a unique “glass weave” back that gives it a real premium feel. The additional key features included full Android app and ecosystem experience, best of both keyboards, tough and beautiful screen, full-day battery life, state-of-the-art camera, powerful performance and Expandable storage, BlackBerry natural sound, and Android for work. But while many BlackBerry enthusiasts will welcome such a feature – and will buy the Priv for no other reason – using it to type feels fiddly and alien after so many years of using an iPhone, especially compared with last year’s wider-keyboard BlackBerry Passport. BlackBerry sold 700,000 devices, down from about 800,000 in the prior period, but average selling prices jumped to US$315 (RM1,355) from US$240 (RM1,032).

While BlackBerry claims such mechanisms are too easy to hack, much of the Priv’s premium feel is lost by having to unlock it with a pattern on the screen, just as you would on a Dh300 device. BlackBerry has promised to keep the Priv (short for “privacy”) constantly updated with Android’s monthly patch updates, and has established a hot desk system for serious bugs, which has the potential to make the device a whole lot more secure than the vast majority of Android devices.

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