Blackberry, a Canadian technology major earlier known as Research in Motion (RIM), is all set to launch its first Android smartphone - Priv - in the country at an expected price of Rs 39,990.
The announcement assumes significance for the Canadian giant because India is the fastest growing smartphone market globally and China and US have started slowing down. Also, Blackberry has been reeling under losses. The company’s sales went down in the US because of Apple launching its phones in quick successions and gaining traction among consumers there. In 2010, Blackberry had nearly 41 percent market share in the US.
The Priv, which comes with a slider Qwerty keyboard and 5.4-inch display, was announced by the company CEO John Chen during the second quarter results of fiscal year 2016.
“Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,” Chen had said while declaring the results adding that the Blackberry 10 OS would also continue to sell.
Blackberry’s intention was to combine the best of both operating systems to offer a better experience to consumers like bringing together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.
In combination with BlackBerry’s efforts to support Android for Work on the BES12 platform, the new device is expected to offer best in class security for enterprise customers.
“Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,” Chen had said adding that the Blackberry OS was the primary source of losses for the company though it had superior technology. Analysts have also supported Chen’s comments and have predicted that the company could save $266 million every year if they dropped their own OS.
In terms of specifications, the Priv runs on a dual-core 1.8 GHz Snapdragon 808 processor and a 3 GB RAM unit. It’s 5.4-inch display which has a pixel density of 540 ppi is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The phone, which runs on a 3,410 mAh battery, has an internal memory of 32 GB expandable to 200 GB via microSD slot.
The Priv sports a 18-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 2-megapixel front camera. Other features include WiFi, Bluetooth and NFC.
Blackberry has claimed that the Priv has a lot more to offer other than specifications. The company has designed a new app called Blackberry Hub where users can see and reply to all kinds of messages and emails. The app also gives a peek into the calendar and also lets the set up reminders. Another app called DTEK by blackberry is also present on the new phone which shows the security status while sharing any kind of files with a different user.
The company has also said that the Priv will get its Marshmallow update soon but has not given any timeline for the same. Currently, the phone runs Android Lollipop 5.1.1. At CES 2016, the company said that it would be soon releasing some third-party accessories for Priv, expected at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.
The Priv magic seems to be working well for Blackberry as after the US and Canada release, Chen had said that the phone was performing well and the company was looking at releasing two more Android handsets. Currently, the product line of Blackberry includes -- Priv, Passport, Classic, Leap, Z30 and the P’9983.