BlackBerry's Android Priv Phone Targets High-End Privacy Needs
The Priv, the first Android phone from BlackBerry, became available for pre-ordering today, the company announced. Starting at $699 in the U.S., the Priv is scheduled to begin shipping on November 6.
The privacy-focused smartphone will come with the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop mobile operating system and a 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor with 3 GB of RAM, according to company details discovered online by a forum member of the CrackBerry site for BlackBerry fans. It will also feature a slide-out keyboard, as well as a touch keyboard, 5.4-inch dual-curved screen and microSD card slot for up to 2 TB of extra data storage.
Also available for pre-ordering by customers in Canada and the U.K., the Priv will be aimed at enterprise users as well as at users interested in "high-end privacy and productivity," according to executive chairman and CEO John Chen. It also reflects the Canadian company's ambition to transform into "a multi-platform provider that can secure the mobile enterprise -- regardless of type of device," he said.
Months of Hints and Speculation
"I have 100 [percent] confidence in our new Priv smartphone," Chen said in a post on BlackBerry's online blog earlier this month. As the company's first device based on Google's Android mobile operating system, rather than its own OS, the Priv is designed for a mobile enterprise market that's increasingly concerned about security and privacy risks, Chen added.
"I am convinced that there is an under-served segment that Priv can ably fill," he noted, pointing to a forecast from the analyst firm IDC that predicts there will be 1.53 billion Android users by 2019. "I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that BlackBerry will find a strong audience here."
Information about the Priv has been trickling out for the past several months. In March, for example, the company's president for devices and emerging solutions Ron Louks took to the stage at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to briefly display an unnamed slider smartphone while discussing the company's device roadmap for 2015. Chen finally confirmed in late September that the device would be the company's first Android smartphone and that its name would be Priv.
'Very Niche' Market
Although the release of the phone is imminent, what remains unclear is how many people are potentially in the Priv market, and how much of an impact the device might have on BlackBerry's long-term viability as a hardware as well as a software company.
The Priv "seems to be a make-or-break device for BlackBerry," Ars Technica said today. And Gizmodo called it an "Android Frankenphone" and "one of BlackBerry's strangest creations."
Tyler Shields, an analyst at Forrester Inc. told us the Priv is clearly not for the average Android user.
"It is indeed intended for a limited audience," Shields said. "It's intended for the privacy conscious, risk averse person or corporate executive. The market is very niche and they won't sell enough phones for this to continue as a viable offering long term."
With its focus on security and privacy, the Priv will be competing with devices like the Blackphone, Atos Hoox and SecuSmart, Shields added.
"There will always been a need for highly secure, well-developed mobile hardware and software," he said. "The problem is that there isn't going to be a mass market level of demand that will keep BlackBerry in this business long term. It's more of a niche play targeting governments and other highly regulated [industries] or private executives and individuals."
Snoop Lover Mutt:
Posted: 2015-11-01 @ 9:30am PT
In order for spy agencies, hackers and rogue governments to access your data, you will need to buy a cheaper, more popular phone. I heard Google/Huaweii Apple brands are nicer and NSA friendly for undetected data transfers without you knowing. Privacy is bad for you. You must reveal EVERYTHING to the world. Get a cheaper phone, nobody wants privacy! Have a candy bar, make you feel good. Its ok to give apple google your passwords, social security numbers, home address etc on open live servers. You can trust them. They love you.They are always your best friend. You get free robot toy! Shop at Walmart today!! Hurry! Cheaper phones instead!!
Posted: 2015-11-01 @ 1:29am PT
If they can only make this run smoothly, and keep android updates coming, this design will be a massive success ... I've ordered one already.
Posted: 2015-10-24 @ 12:07pm PT
Um BlackBerry owns SecuSmart already