Mobility

BlackBerry PRIV Android phone: Destined to fail or become the new business-class standard?

The much-anticipated BlackBerry PRIV Android smartphone is upon us. Jack Wallen discusses why this could be the new standard and why it could tank.

priv.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

I've been reticent to bring up the soon-to-be-released BlackBerry PRIV. Why? Because BlackBerry hasn't been relevant for a very long time in technology years, and it is banking its success on a form factor — the physical keyboard — that has become little more than a fond memory for most.

BlackBerry recently released a promotional video for the PRIV, and I have to say... this device could become the new standard for Android, nay, smartphone devices. Believe me, I was shocked to come anywhere near this conclusion, but when you watch the official video, you might be overcome with the same feelings.

Don't believe me? Here's the video.

My first reactions

  • The keyboard: Until I watched the video, I didn't think the slide-out keyboard should ever be brought back. Now I realize how much screen real estate you gain by having this option available. For power users, this could seriously change your game.
  • The popup widgets: I was doubtful of how this could function, but from the video having widgets at the ready and off of your screen you'll be able to retain a clean home screen and gain a bit of added privacy.
  • The BlackBerry Hub: Have you ever wished there was one location to read all of your email and SMS messages? Well, BlackBerry is bringing that very thing to market with BlackBerry Hub, where you will have access to all messages from multiple email accounts and messaging accounts.
  • The camera: The main camera on this baby is an 18 MP dual-flash Schneider-Kreuznach certified camera with optical imaging stabilization, 4K recording, high dynamic range, phase detect auto focus, and fast focus lock. The front-facing camera is less impressive at 2 MP.
  • The battery: The PRIV battery comes in at 3,410mAh, which is more powerful than many other flagship devices and holds the promise of squeezing 22.5 hours of mixed-use. That's impressive by any measure.
  • The security: The PRIV includes what BlackBerry is calling the DTEK warning system, which warns you when your privacy might have been compromised. DTEK monitors your apps and can display which of those apps access your personal data.
    Other notable security features include:
    - Injected cryptographic keys into the hardware
    - Verified boot and Secure Bootchain
    - Hardened Linux kernel with numerous security patches applied
    - FIPS 140-2 compliant full disk encryption
    - The BlackBerry Infrastructure for transmitting encrypted data
    - BES12

The bad news

Awash in a wave of cost-effective, unlocked phones and flagship devices from Samsung, HTC, and LG seeing price decreases, a mobile device with a price point of $699.00 USD is a hard sell. Even if the PRIV is the perfect Android smartphone for business, that price could be a massive stumbling block.

And we cannot discuss BlackBerry without mentioning how the company faded under the looming shadows of Android and iOS; this is one of the main reasons BlackBerry opted to release a device based on Android, as BlackBerryOS cannot stand up to the competition.

The bottom line

The PRIV is a gorgeous device with business-class security and a few bonus features that would certainly please nearly any power user.

Do you think the PRIV will be a success despite its high price and the state of irrelevancy BlackBerry has fallen into? Let us know in the discussion.

Also see

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox