BlackBerry’s Rumored Venice Android Slider Could Be Officially 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 favor 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.The last time BlackBerry tried to reinvent itself, a simple, easy to remember combination of a letter and number were chosen as labels for the Z10, Q10, and Q5.According to a couple reports out this morning, the long-rumored Android-powered “Venice” smartphone on the way from BlackBerry is going to be called the “Priv” when it actually launches… We’ve seen photos of the phone leak from multiple sources over the last month or two, and a couple of weeks ago a full gallery of shots surfaced showing the phone from all angles.

We later caught a glimpse of the device in promo photos and videos, then saw real world photos of it, and finally enjoyed a 4-minute hands-on video with the phone. We also recently saw a blurry cam picture taken by someone attending the Toronto Film Festival, showing the same Venice phone we’ve seen elsewhere, but with what looks to be case attached. The company has made several acquisitions to grow its non-hardware offerings, culminating in the $425-million takeover of Good Technology Corp. earlier this month. Buying Good will help get BlackBerry closer to Chen’s goal of $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 Phones still account for more than 40 percent of the company’s revenue, however, and BlackBerry has long said running its own operating system allows it to make sure the devices live up to its reputation for security. According to a new report the alleged BlackBerry device which was being referred as the Venice, will actually hit the retail under the name BlackBerry Priv!

It seemed like the perfect strategy, really, as long as the marketing idioms were memorable, which they still are, to be honest, not to mention the Passport and Classic handhelds were succinctly and impeccably described by their pseudonyms. BlackBerry had allegedly dodged question of an upcoming Android device earlier this year by stating that they will definitely come up with one if they can do something interesting. Investors and analysts will be looking to see how much progress Chen has made towards the $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. 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. Now, we clearly wouldn’t be very tempted to buy a BlackBerry Private phone, given the jokes we’d willingly expose ourselves to, but the struggling Canadian OEM could have thought of something better.

Previous rumors had put a Snapdragon 808 processor in the Priv (damn, it’s gonna take some time to get used to that name!), with 3GB of RAM, and a 5.4-inch QHD curved glass screen. 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. 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. 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.

In case BlackBerry does succeed to hit the market with a so called ‘Priv’ device then, analyst at Gizbot are confident that the Canadian company will soon regain its market presence. It always sounded good to us, and while it doesn’t link to the features BlackBerry will focus all the publicity money on, it sticks with you, and invokes another prospective key selling point of the “Venice”. With roughly two-thirds of the company’s research and development costs dedicated to the devices business, the analyst said the company can save $266 million per year by discontinuing its current operating system. 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. That is despite having to type medical jargon, three languages simultaneously (including transliterated Arabic with numbers sprinkled in with letters), and lots of abbreviations.

Speaking of the legendary Twitter leakster, he was obviously the one to divulge the awkward designation of the first BlackBerry Android soldier, with N4BB’s perennially reliable sources backing the intel. I just turn autocorrect off, and touch type when I know I’ll be saying things the keyboard won’t ever understand, then swipe (which autocorrects by default) when I’m just using plain English.

A new press render to add to the wide array of previous visual leaks has also come to light, and it stars the BlackBerry Priv in full unfolded touchscreen/QWERTY keyboard hybrid glory. 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. It would be a difficult balancing act for BlackBerry to augment the Android operating system with many of its native security features and still receive approval from Google for its use.

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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