Blackberry Announces the PRIV, a Secure Smartphone for a Mobile World

In what seems to be a last-ditch effort to resuscitate a dying brand, Blackberry confirmed that it is indeed developing the PRIV, Blackberry’s very first Android-powered smartphone. As a play off the words “privacy” and “privilege”, Blackberry is banking on what has always been the cornerstone of its brand messaging: “privacy is your privilege”. CEO John Chen confirmed as much on Blackberry’s blog:

“In today’s hectic world where cyber threats are real for everyone, BlackBerry is making sure that our products invoke this mantra that your privacy is your privilege,” he said.

Why the PRIV is Significant

The fact that Blackberry is teaming up with Android to power the PRIV points to a radical departure from its usual method of using its own software. Developing its own secure OS has always been Blackberry’s crown jewel. This was a very calculated move that allows Blackberry to interface with the latest Android software, give Blackberry users access to the widest range of apps Google has to offer, and keep them secure in a world where privacy is rapidly disappearing. It almost sounds too good to be true.

The Specs

Based on the images that Blackberry has released, the PRIV features a curved, 5.5-inch display and, intriguingly, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. In an effort to reclaim its stronghold on business productivity, Blackberry is apparently developing a smartphone keyboard that is intended to help you type longer messages and get more work done.

Though the details have yet to be released whether or not the PRIV will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, we can only hope to see what has become pretty standard fare for Android smartphones: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and at least a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel front-facing camera.

If Blackberry hopes to compete with a truly competitive market, one can only hope they go this route. Thus far, all Chen has said is that the PRIV will “combine the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.”

Overall, it will be fascinating to see what develops for Blackberry’s future once the PRIV is released in November.