BlackBerry’s returns with new Android-powered Priv

23 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

BlackBerry Priv, its first Android phone, goes up for pre-order.

But for those few who remain hung up on the caress of plastic keys under their fingertips there’s soon to be one more option to consider — given the BlackBerry Priv has just gone up for pre-order in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., with shipping slated to start on November 6. BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed myriad leaks of the imminent landing of an Android-powered BlackBerry late last month, demoing the touch-slider device to BNN. The Priv comes with a Snapdragon 808 processor, a 5.4-inch Galaxy S6 Edge-esque curved display, a monstrous 3410mAh battery, and its most distinctive feature—a slide-out physical keyboard.

So yes the phone is a cake-and-eat it approach, with both keyboard and touchscreen in one package — provided you don’t mind a little heft in the hand (and a little BlackBerry branding on your handset). On the heft side BlackBerry is at least compensating for a little thickness around the phone’s waist by sticking a beefy battery (3,410mAh) under the hood, albeit this is non-removable — unlike in the case of those BlackBerrys of yore. The Priv has one more trick up its sleeve that might appeal to erstwhile Samsung buyers: a microSD card slot for user expandable storage of up to 2TB. The Android-phone-in-BlackBerry-clothing also comes with what the company describes as “added security to let you know when your data could be at risk, so you can take action to improve it”. Aka a BlackBerry app called DTEK — a sort of privacy dashboard for users, where they can get an overview of their device security and control individual app permissions related to personal data and privacy — such as whether an app has access to the microphone, location and other personal info.

When Blackberry’s Passport launched at $600, it felt just a bit too expensive and Blackberry agreed, knocking the price down $100 a few months later. Meanwhile, the screen above provides auto-correction and next word suggestions. (You can also use an on-screen keyboard while the physical keys are tucked away.) BlackBerry is also touting the Priv’s privacy features, with a built-in app that grades overall system security. But BlackBerry has long aimed for the business-y, enterprise-y, “I wear a suit every day” types—and those people tend to have a lot of discretionary income. With the BlackBerry 10 operating system continuing to look like an exercise in futility, going with Android for the Priv could be the company’s last shot as a phone maker. If you’ve pined for BlackBerry’s previous keyboard-equipped hardware, but not the software that went with them, now’s the time to take another look.

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