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Blackberry announces Android powered Blackberry PRIV smartphone

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We saw Blackberry’s market share decline in the past years. With Android and iOS’ dominance of the smartphone market, the company had a tough time staying relevant. In hopes of a resurgence, Blackberry combined their class-leading security know-how with Android and announced the Blackberry PRIV. The smartphone runs on Android Lollipop and comes with a physical sliding keyboard, an AMOLED display, and the company’s renowned security and privacy features. This may be the company’s best device yet.

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Blackberry PRIV

Taking a page out of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge design, the Blackberry PRIV features a 5.4 inch curved AMOLED display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 and a pixel density of 540 ppi. Inside is a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 418 GPU. The rest of the specs include an 18MP main camera, a 2MP front camera, LTE support, and a huge 3,410 mAh non-removable battery.

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The PRIV runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and has access to the Google Play Store. Its close to stock with some added features thrown in. For example, you can access widgets straight from the app icon by swiping up instead of tapping it (ala Action Launcher).

Blackberry PRIV specs:

  • 5.4 inch curved AMOLED display (2560 x 1440; 540 ppi)
  • 64-bit Hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
  • Adreno 418 @600 MHz
  • 3GB RAM / 32GB storage +microSD up to 2TB
  • 18MP Schneider-Kreuznac main camera, f/2.2, OIS, phase detection autofocus
  • 2MP front camera, f/2.8
  • 3,410 mAH battery (non-removable) with Quick Charge 2.0
  • LTE, HSPA+, 3G
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.1, NFC
  • Dimensions: 147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm; 192 g
  • Physical capacitive keyboard
  • Android 5.1.1 Lollipop

Advanced Security and Privacy

Since this is a Blackberry, the smartphone is expected to have the company’s class-leading security and privacy features. These are some of the features the phone employs to protect you:

  • Advanced Privacy Controls: The exclusive DTEK by BlackBerry app for Android monitors and reports on application access to the microphone, camera, location and personal information, enabling users to be confident that their personal data is being kept private. Users can know at a glance when their privacy could be at risk so they can take action to improve it.
  • Secure Hardware: BlackBerry’s hardware root of trust, a unique manufacturing process, injects cryptographic keys into the device hardware, providing a secure foundation for the entire platform.
  • Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain: Keys have been embedded to verify every layer of the device from hardware to OS to applications in order to make sure they haven’t been tampered with. Additionally, thousands of modifications were made to harden the Linux kernel with numerous patches and configuration changes to improve security.
  • Fully supported on BlackBerry’s EMM Solution: PRIV can be integrated with our leading EMM solution, BES 12, which offers cross-platform management of PRIV and other devices; providing a full end to end security solution and secure collaboration

Impressions

By all accounts, the PRIV is a beautiful device. The phone is definitely premium and feels good in the hand. The curved screen looks great and the AMOLED display is bright and colorful. Navigating the phone is a great experience as well. The short time we spent with it showed a very smooth and responsive UI.

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Former Blackberry users will love the physical keyboard. It was a new experience for me as I’ve never owned a Blackberry before, but I can understand why people love it. It makes typing long messages and emails easier, faster and more accurate.

The biggest obstacle the PRIV will face is its price. At PHP 45,000, I feel that it is a bit too if you compare it against other flagships. I guess that is the price of security wrapped in a premium body.

Availability and Pricing

The Blackberry PRIV will be available at a suggested retail price of PHP 45,000 from mid-December through BlackBerry’s exclusive partner in the Philippines, MemoXpress. Details of MemoXpress-affiliated retailers can be found at memoxpress.theshop.ph.

For more information on the PRIV, you may visit www.BlackBerry.com/PRIV. You can also follow all updates on the PRIV through the Inside BlackBerry blog.

For more tech-centric news and reviews, please follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/TechnoBaboy), and Twitter (@technobaboy). We’ll do our best to keep you up-to-date.

More Photos

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