BlackBerry’s Android Slider To Be Called ‘Priv’

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 things to look for from BlackBerry.

According to Chan, the tech firm ought to jettison its BlackBerry 10 operating system, the linchpin of its highly secure ecosystem for mobile phones, in favour of Google Inc.’s Android platform.BlackBerry’s upcoming Android phone has been called “Venice” for quite some time, but that’s apparently nothing but a moniker meant to be shed and replaced by its real model name.CEO John Chen has vowed to sharply increase revenue from mobile device management software and from secure enterprise server licensing fees to make up for plunging contributions from handset sales.

BlackBerry’s upcoming phone, based on Android operating system, could be called ‘Priv’ according to reports published by CNet citing Twitter user Evan Black (@evleaks). BlackBerry surprised many earlier this year when it briefly revealed its plan for a unique dual-curved display device featuring a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The company has made several acquisitions to grow its non-hardware offerings, culminating in the US$425-million takeover of Good Technology Corp. earlier this month.

The long-time leaker, however, was beaten to the punch late last month, when Vietnam-based Ba Minh Duc posted to his Facebook page a device he claimed is a BlackBerry Venice/Priv. BlackBerry’s president of Devices and Emerging Solutions, Ron Louks, teased the media with two variants of the device, in black and white, and hinted at a November release date. Buying Good will help get BlackBerry closer to Chen’s goal of US$500-million in software revenue by March 2016 and removes a key competitor to its business of providing programming aimed at helping companies track and secure mobile devices. It will be the first phone from Blackberry which will not use its own operating system but will be based on popular open source operating system Android. ‘Priv’ might come with a full QWERTY keyboard. Still unconfirmed by BlackBerry, recent reports on the phone tip an Android version of the messaging app Hub, as well as an 18-megapixel camera and Chromecast support—a lusted-after feature among many users.

Over the past few months, there have been numerous speculations and a handful of image leaks portraying the Blackberry Venice’s design and core features. Another render released in August suggested the upcoming handset will share a feature with Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Edge: a screen that slopes down on either side. The Waterloo, Ont.-based company’s fortunes have plunged amid competitive onslaughts in hardware from Apple and Samsung, and overall revenue has been tumbling for more than two years.

While BlackBerry is seen posting a money-losing quarter, it is still expected to report more than $1.766 billion in net cash after debt, bolstered by one-time items and disciplined spending control. The newest development is that the upcoming Android-run BlackBerry slider, till now known only by its development codename Venice, may be marketed as Blackberry Priv. Investors and analysts will be looking to see how much progress Chen has made towards the US$500-million goal as BlackBerry handset sales continue to drop despite new phones debuted in the last year, such as the keyboard-equipped Classic and square-screened Passport.

BlackBerry recently fueled rumors of a possible Android device by announcing a partnership with Google, to “set new standards in enterprise mobile security for organizations deploying Android devices.” The companies are integrating BlackBerry’s BES12 security software with Google’s Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system and Google Play for Work. Priv could come with resolution of 2,560×1,440 pixels, which would be as good as the resolution found on high-end Samsung phones like Samsung Galaxy S6 and Note 5.

According to Evan Blass, the reputed @evleaks leaker, the BlackBerry Venice transformation will see it get the new name for the market—a sign that the manufacturer is getting ready for the final release in about two months. While CEO Chen made an immense stride to revamp BlackBerry’s device business by outsourcing manufacturing and development to avoid repeats of the inventory buildups that had long plagued the company, Scotia’s Chan explains why a more radical change would be beneficial. “While BB10, in our opinion, is technologically superior to many mobile platforms, it has failed to generate the recovery BlackBerry had hoped for and continues to be the primary source of losses for the company,” Chan said in a research note published this week.

BlackBerry has said it expects its acquisition of secure mobile platform company Good Technology to add $160 million to fiscal 2016 software sales, despite a short-term drag on earnings reflecting the $425 million purchase price. According to rumors published by Phone Arena, the Blackberry Priv is expected to feature a 5.4-inch QHD display, 3 GB of RAM, and a choice of 32GB or 64GB onboard memory. The market share of BlackBerry devices has continued to decline since the launch of this operating system, as access to a number of Android apps through the Amazon app store has not been a panacea. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

With roughly two-thirds of the company’s research and development costs dedicated to the devices business, the analyst said the company can save US$266 million per year by discontinuing its current operating system. For people looking forward to a real keyboard, BlackBerry ‘Priv’ might be the best option as the phone will have slider which will open a real keyboard. In August, @evleaks tweeted that the new BlackBerry device had been “confirmed for release in November on all four major carriers in the US,” just days before the first renderings of the suspected device surfaced.

Chen has been guarded about reports that BlackBerry is building a phone using Google’s Android open-source operating system, which could be fortified with BlackBerry security features. Some analysts say Android would broaden Blackberry’s hardware reach, while others suggest it would undermine the company’s’ reputation for secure mobile solutions.

Chen has said organic growth is not sufficient to meet the company’s software revenue target and has acquired smaller companies with a focus on boosting mobile security. The Good Technology deal is not expected to close until the third quarter, but Chen could highlight revenue brought in by other acquired enterprises, such as Secusmart and WatchDox, and from long-term division QNX, which provides auto infotainment systems. But any move away from the BB10 operating system would have to wait an indefinite amount of time due to pre-existing contracts the firm has to fulfill.

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