Blackberry Priv runs Android and costs Rs 62,990

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2016 13:52 IST
The version of Android on Priv borrows heavily from the Blackberry OS 10 (Blackberry)

Blackberry’s first smartphone that runs Android — Blackberry Priv — has been launched for Rs 62,990. It will be available in leading Blackberry stores and Amazon from January 30. After they’re OS 10 sank while Android and iOS soared, Blackberry has finally has put an Android in one of its devices to keep up with the competition.

The version of Android on Priv borrows heavily from the Blackberry OS 10. The Blackberry Hub — notification inbox that aggregates all alerts — will be available on the Blackberry Priv. It also comes with a QHD screen and a slide-out physical keyboard like the Blackberry Torch. If you have resisted the switch to Android or iOS from your trusty Blackberry for the lack of a physical keyboard or security features, you this phone should be in your wishlist.

Priv is probably the best phone Blackberry has ever sold, at least in terms of specifications. It has 5.4-inch curved AMOLED display, which means nicer and power-efficient notifications when the phone gets a Marshmallow update sometime in 2016. The 3,410 mAh battery promises a full day of power to the Snapdragon 808 processor and 3 GB of RAM. You can expand the inbuilt 32 GB storage with a microSD card (up to 2TB). It has a nice grippy material on the back, for easy handling despite the huge screen.

Built by Blackberry the physical keyboard can also be used to scroll and control the cursor because it’s touch-sensitive among other shortcuts. But the phone has been to be buggy with overheating, notification lag and multiple their issues.

Blackberry’s intention with the Priv, 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.

The Priv sports a 18-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED flash and a 2-megapixel front camera. However, the camera is great but slow at taking pictures. 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.

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