BlackBerry

BlackBerry Priv is the most innovative device set to hit the Android World in years

While remaining silent for such a long time, BlackBerry have finally announced the existence of the Android phone, called the Priv, and stated that it will be available before the end of the calendar year.

It has been a long, long time since a smartphone by BlackBerry has generated as much positive  interest as BlackBerry’s upcoming Priv has.

Unfortunately, that positive interest has not extended to “some” BlackBerry users who are completely disdainful of the whole idea and feel let down by the company.

BlackBerry CEO John, more than likely aware that some would react like this, published a nice article where he clearly explained why BlackBerry are teaming up with Google for an Android phone.

 

BlackBerry 10

When it comes to operating systems, BlackBerry10 is really still in it’s infancy.  Publicly available from January 30, 2013, it is just over two and a half years old (discounting prior development time).  For a brand new OS, written from the ground-up, that is still extremely young and it takes a lot longer than that for an OS to mature.  Unfortunately, BlackBerry don’t have that time.

While regarded by many as the best operating system that is currently available, the simple truth is the huge majority of smartphone users simply don’t want it, don’t like it, or have never even tried it.

It’s not all about a lack of apps though.  For example, BlackBerry 10 is still lacking features from the legacy BBOS and incredibly, since it’s release it has never had a major revision update.

[table style=”table-striped”]

BlackBerryAndroidiOS
Jan 30 2013104 (at time of BB10 release)6 (at time of BB10 release)
Sep 20 20137
Sep 18 20148
Nov 12 20145
Sep 16 20159
Sep 29 2015 6 (expected time)

[/table]

While version numbers may not seem important to many, the perception is.  While others appear to be enhancing and improving their OS, BlackBerry 10 “appears” to the uninitiated to be stagnant. BlackBerry stating that the next release won’t be released for another six months (March 2016), and that will be 10.3.3, does not help that perception.

BlackBerry sold a mere 800,000 devices in the last quarter and that is simply not sustainable. Any business who has a product that is not selling the way they expected it to and not making a profit will look at alternatives.  That is just business 101.

The problem is that BlackBerry 10 sales are not dropping in small quantities,  they are dropping like bricks.

  • Q2 2015 2.4 million
  • Q3 2015 2.0 million
  • Q4 2015 1.3 million
  • Q1 2016 1.1 million
  • Q2 2016 800k

I could write a lengthy article about the benefits, merits and potential of BlackBerry 10, and many others could probably add more.  The reality is that it doesn’t matter how good it is, or can be.  It doesn’t matter how good an operating system it is.  Every single positive argument that you could state is irrelevant. The bottom line is that it isn’t selling.

BlackBerry 10 and Android

It’s quite ironic but Android has pretty much kept the BlackBerry 10 OS alive since it’s launch. Many users have spent an enormous amount of time trying apps like Snap, hacked Google apps and more, all in an attempt to get Android apps running on their BlackBerry 10 devices.

BlackBerry even partned with Amazon to get more Android apps on BlackBerry 10 devices but Amazon doesn’t even come close to the amount of apps that Google Play Store has.

The other downside is that due to Android being a Runtime, it is pretty hit-and-miss what apps work completely, what apps partially work and what apps don’t work at all.

When you take all this into account, BlackBerry users have contributed in so many ways to BlackBerry making a move towards an Android smartphone.

With the BlackBerry Priv, these users no longer will have the hassle of trying to get Android apps on their BlackBerry.  They will have access to millions of apps via the Play Store and the benefits of BlackBerry security.

BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry Priv

The BlackBerry Priv is named “after BlackBerry’s heritage core mission of protecting customers’ privacy”.

While the name at first sounds terrible, people will get used to it just like they do any other device’s name.

Crucially, BlackBerry are not going it alone with their first Android device.  They are reportedly teaming up with Google for this device.  That is one of the smartest moves that they could make.

Android users are screaming out for an innovative device and BlackBerry are all set to accommodate them.

At this point we don’t know exactly what the partnership entails beyond Google for Work, Google Services and the Play Store but if they can get Google’s huge marketing services behind the device, BlackBerry users will see a device marketed like never before.

Android users are screaming out for an innovative device and BlackBerry are all set to accommodate them.

The Priv is the first ever BlackBerry phone that brings a 9:16 ratio touch screen and a physical keyboard. Users will not only have an all-touch device with high-end specs, they will have a physical keyboard that BlackBerry are exceptional at producing.  Make no mistake, this is a huge feature but it doesn’t have to be used.  For those who prefer an all-touch device, they never even have to slide out the keyboard but I guarantee that once they try it, they will use it, especially for those longer emails and messages.

Being a slider keyboard also means that the keyboard is not in the way when you don’t need it.

Unlike a lot of current high-end Android devices, the BlackBerry Priv provides support for sdcards, so you will never be limited to just the device storage.

BlackBerry are keeping as close to stock Android as possible, while enhancing it with BlackBerry security features.  Android users will not only be completely familiar with its use but will  now be able to purchase an Android smartphone and feel that their device and data is truly secure.

Quite simply, the BlackBerry Priv is the best of both worlds. BlackBerry security, top of the range hardware, a capacitive keyboard and the Android ecosystem.

Quite simply, the BlackBerry Priv is the best of both worlds. BlackBerry security, top of the range hardware, a capacitive keyboard and the Android ecosystem.

The Priv is the most innovative device set to hit the Android World in years and don’t forget that BlackBerry 10 devices have won numerous design awards and the Priv is sure to be added to that list.

BlackBerry know how to make quality devices and nobody but BlackBerry can produce a quality physical keyboard. Combine that with the power of Google and you have a match made in Heaven.

BlackBerry 10 Specs (Incomplete)

The specs of the BlackBerry Priv are on-par with any other high-end Android smartphone that is out there.  Personally, I’m disappointed not to see a fingerprint reader on the device but apart from that, the specs are truly high-end.

While incomplete, this what we we know of the of the BlackBerry Priv specs.

[table style=”table-striped”]

Software Environment
Embedded Operating System:Google Android 5.1.1
Kernel:grsecurity (Linux
Microprocessor, Chipset
CPU Clock:1800 MHz
CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992
Width of Machine Word:64 bit
CPU Core:2x ARM Cortex-A57 MPcore + 4x ARM Cortex-A53 MPcore
Instruction Set:ARMv8-A (A32, A64)
Memory, Storage capacity
RAM type:LPDDR3 SDRAM
RAM capacity:3072 MiB
ROM type:Flash EEPROM
Graphic subsystem
Display Type:Supported
Display Color Depth:24 bit/pixel (16777216 scales)
Display Diagonal:5.4″ (137 millimetres)
Display Resolution:1440 x 2560 (3686400 pixels)
Viewable Display Size:2.64 ” x 4.7 ” (67.17 x 119.41 millimetres)
Pixel density (dot pitch):544.6 pixel/inch (0.04664 millimetre/pixel)
Graphical Controller:Qualcomm Adreno 330
Audio Subsystem
Audio Channel(s):Stereo sound
Microphone(s):4.0 sound
Loudspeaker(s):Supported
Audio Output:3.5mm plug
Cellular Phone
Cellular Networks:GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS800 (B6), UMTS850 (B5), UMTS1700/2100 (B4), UMTS1900 (B2), UMTS2100 (B1), LTE2100 (B1), LTE700 (B17), LTE850 (B5), LTE700 (B13), LTE1700/2100 (B4), LTE1800 (B3), LTE2600 (B7), LTE900 (B8), LTE800 (B20)
Cellular Data Links:GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE, LTE-A
Cellular Antenna:Internal antenna
Call Alert:72 -chord melody (polyphonic)
Vibrating Alert:Supported
Speakerphone :Supported
Phone Controller:Qualcomm MSM8994
Control Peripherals
Positioning Device:Multi-touch screen
Primary Keyboard:Slide-out QWERTY-type keyboard, 35 keys
Automatic keyboard backlight (upon press of any key)
Directional Pad:Not supported
Scroll Wheel:Not supported
Interfaces
USB:USB 2.0 host/client, Hi-Speed (480Mbit/s), USB On-The-Go 1.3 compliant
USB Series Micro-B (Micro-USB) connector
Bluetooth (802.15):Bluetooth 4.0, Internal antenna
Wireless LAN/Wi-Fi (802.11):IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11r, IEEE 802.11k
Internal antenna
Infrared Gate:Not supported
Multimedia Broadcast
Analog Radio:FM radio (76-108 MHz) with RDS radio reciever
Proprietary headset as antenna
Digital Media Broadcast:Not supported
Satellite Navigation
Built-in GPS module:Supported
GPS Protocol:NMEA 0183
GPS Antenna:Internal antenna
Complementary GPS Services:Assisted GPS, QuickGPS, Geotagging, Simultaneous GPS (S-GPS)
Navigation Chipset:Qualcomm MSM8974 gpsOne
Built-in Digital Camera
Sensor Type:CMOS sensor
Resolution:5680 x3200 pixels (18.18MP)
Autofocus (AF):Supported
Optical Zoom:1 x
Macro Mode:Supported
Built-in Flash:mobile light (LED)
Camcorder:1920×1080 pixels , 60frame/sec
Recordable Image Formats:JPG
Recordable Video Formats:3GP, 3G2
Built-in Secondary Digital Camera
Sensor Type:CMOS sensor
Resolution:2592 x1944 pixels (5.04MP)
Camcorder:1920x1080pixels , 30frame/sec
Recordable Image Formats:JPG
Recordable Video Formats:3GP
Power Supply
Battery Technology:Lithium-ion polymer battery 3,410 mAh
Battery Layout:Supported
Additional Details
Built-in accelerometer:Supported
Additional Features:
  • capacitive touchscreen
  • built-in digital compass
  • 10-point multi-touch
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3 screen
  • HSPA+ 42Mbps
  • HSUPA 5.76
  • LTE 300/50Mbps
  • NFC
  • DLNA
  • OIS
  • image stabilizer
  • face detection
  • BSI sensor
  • HDR photo
  • active noise reduction
  • Miracast
  • 3G/4G mobile hotspot
  • proximity sensor
  • light sensor
  • gyro sensor
  • HAC (M4)
  • nano-SIM

[/table]

BlackBerry Priv - Privacy

The Challenge

It’s not going to be a simple case of releasing the Priv and watching device sales soar, rubbing hands while the cash pours in and the user-base increasing in large numbers.

There are many challenges for BlackBerry with this device.

How they price it and promote it will be crucial to the success (or failure) of the device. If they overprice it, they will lose sales from the start and it will be hard to catch-up from there.

Setting up the device will require your Google account, the same as any other Android device but BlackBerry’s services and apps will still require a BBID (BlackBerry ID).  It would be nice if BlackBerry can implement a way of linking a users Google Account with their BlackBerry ID, as this would simplify a lot of issues for users.

How they implement BlackBerry features will be important, but just as important will be if non-security features can be removed, should a user want to.  Bloatware is a well-known issue in the Android sphere and most companies are working to reduce the amount of bloatware that they include on their Android smartphones these days.  BlackBerry need to be aware of that and ensure that they don’t fill up the device with what could be perceived as bloatware.  Ironically, that could include BBM.  If a user doesn’t want it on their Priv, they should be able to remove it.

BlackBerry Blend does not currently support Android smartphones and while it is overdue, that has to be ready and available at the same time as the Priv.

Apps, apps and more apps! BlackBerry will no longer be able to claim that a BlackBerry device is not selling due to a lack of apps.

There has always been an argument that BlackBerry has never been truly hacked due to it’s “limited” user-base.  The argument being that it wasn’t worth the time and energy “hacking”. That will all change with the BlackBerry Priv.  From the kick-off, there will be a huge effort to root this device, so BlackBerry security will get a severe testing from a huge community and it needs to be able to stand up to this challenge.

There are millions of current Android (and iOS) users who have left BlackBerry and this could be the device to bring them back.  There are also several million BlackBerry users who will buy the Priv because they badly want apps and there are others who will buy it simply because it is a BlackBerry.

BlackBerry have a huge opportunity here and they need to make the most of it. The BlackBerry Priv is a beautiful smartphone that you will be proud to show off and will make you and your phone stand out from the crowd. The BlackBerry Priv is a BlackBerry for everyone!

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