The BlackBerry Priv offers a physical keyboard that has made it popular with users who need to work on the move.
The smartphone is one of the few Android handsets that offers a physical keyboard. Up until now the BlackBerry Priv was only available on AT&T and T-Mobile, but now it will be carried by Verizon, the biggest network in the U.S.
Verizon to offer BlackBerry Priv
Verizon is selling the handset for $720 without a contract, which works out at $30 per month over two years. The handset sells for around $700 unlocked. However the move means that BlackBerry’s only Android handset is now available to 80% of the U.S. market, with only Sprint failing to offer the phone.
Experts say that the Priv is a decent phone, if you like BlackBerry that is. In the same price range you can get a new Galaxy S7 which boasts a raft of better features and improved performance, so you would have to really want the physical keyboard to invest in a Priv.
However Dent claims that the keyboard is not up to the standard of previous models, negating the benefit of the Priv and driving customers to use other handsets. One factor that does keep people using BlackBerry is the extra security.
BlackBerry handsets could be killed off says CEO Chen
Now that the Priv is available on most major networks in the U.S. we will see how much people value the keyboard and security features. If it doesn’t sell well it could spell the end for BlackBerry handsets, which arrived to great fanfare in 2003 as the original smartphones.
With that in mind popular messaging service WhatsApp has revealed that it would end support for the BlackBerry 10 operating system. These are tough times for Chen and the company, with the next year looking to be vital in deciding the future of the company.