The announcement of the BlackBerry Priv (styled PRIV by BlackBerry itself) occurred rather rapidly, and all of a sudden it is now possible to preorder the device. This had been a long rumored released from BlackBerry for some time, with leaks so prolific that even the CEO of the company eventually confirmed the device. John Chen indeed shared photos of the handset, and even appeared in TV interviews brandishing a prototype.
A new BlackBerry release isn’t quite what it used to be when the company was an iconic smartphone manufacturer. Despite the fact that BlackBerry devices are still actually holding up rather well in the corporate sector, the name of BlackBerry has lost something of its luster over the last decade or so. Overtaken by massively successful offerings by Apple and Samsung in particular, the BlackBerry Priv will be a significantly more low-key release than some of the BlackBerry devices of the past.
BlackBerry retains fans
But this doesn’t change the fact that BlackBerry retains its share of followers, fans and aficionados, and the BlackBerry Priv will undoubtedly attract several of these. With a release date in November, and preorders for this Android-powered device already available, it will be interesting to see how this latest handset from the infamous consumer electronics company fares.
It is particularly noticeable that this is an Android-based device, as BlackBerry has previously based its premier devices on its own operating system. The reasons for switching to Android may be financial, but there are certainly practical benefits for the corporation as well. Instead of continuing to rely on its own software, BlackBerry can bank on the assistance of a massive corporation like Google. This can only help the workload related to the BlackBerry Priv ahead of its release. The BlackBerry Priv will launch on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, but it is expected that the Marshmallow variant will also become available at a later date.
The BlackBerry Priv is expected to be a top-tier device, and early pricing suggests that it will be rather pricey for a BlackBerry handset. But it is reasonable to point out that this is no ordinary BlackBerry; the corporation has ensured that its capabilities considerably outrank the devices that BlackBerry is usually associated with. This is a true consumer handset, and one that can compete with some of the more notable devices already available on the market.
BlackBerry Priv specs
Firstly, the 5.4-inch display included in the BlackBerry Priv will attract a lot of consumers, particularly considering the impressive screen resolution. The AMOLED screen is capable of a quad HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, producing an outstanding pixel density of 540ppi. This really compares favorably with most devices on the market, and ensures that the BlackBerry Priv it should attract its fair share of mainstream consumers.
Qualcomm will be pleased that it continues to secure contracts for BlackBerry handsets, and the BlackBerry Priv is no exception to this rule. The smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, and BlackBerry has also ensured that there is a hefty 3GB of RAM memory included.
If this is a slick performer in terms of processing and memory, it is also notable that the BlackBerry Priv features an incredible amount of storage. Admittedly, the basic internal storage of the device is only equal to 32GB, but BlackBerry has certainly pulled out all of the stops with the ability to expand the device via Micro SD. This bumps the BlackBerry Priv up to a scarcely believable 2TB, ensuring that this is truly a high storage device that will more than deliver a convenient consumer package.
The camera included in the BlackBerry Priv also impresses in terms of its raw specifications, particularly with regard to the rear-facing snapper. The 18-megapixel unit included in the BlackBerry Priv also features a dual LED flash, and although megapixel rating alone is not sufficient to judge the quality of the camera, it is notable that the BlackBerry Priv is at least comparable to most smartphones available on the market.
It must be said in mitigation, though, that BlackBerry is rather lagging behind with its front-facing unit. The 2-megapixel front camera is not up to the same standard as similar offerings from Samsung and Apple, and it does seem like a missed opportunity considering the importance of selfie-capturing to contemporary smartphone users.
Better news is available with regard to the battery, with BlackBerry having armed the BlackBerry Priv with an extremely powerful 3,410mAh unit. This should ensure that the battery life of this device is excellent; always a major issue for smartphone consumers.
In terms of unique features, the BlackBerry Priv naturally is most characterized by the full BlackBerry physical keyboard. This is an extremely important feature of the BlackBerry series, and probably the one that continues to attract users above all else. Indeed, it was famously lauded by Kim Kardashian, who apparently owns numerous BlackBerry devices.
Meanwhile, the BlackBerry Priv is actually fairly weighty for a smartphone, amounting to 192g in this department. It measures 147 x 77.2 x 9.4mm, expanding to 184mm tall once slid open, and comes complete with enhanced BlackBerry conditions such as the DTEK privacy app. BlackBerry has also stated that the smartphone delivers extraordinary audio quality, and this is increasingly important in a smartphone niche in which Apple has banked a lot of money and energy in music.
Speaking of banking a lot on something, the CEO of BlackBerry, John Chen, has certainly thrown his whole hand in on the BlackBerry Priv, and particularly its Android-based operating system. The decision to switch to Android could be considered a controversial one in some quarters, but Chen clearly believes that it will pay off handsomely. Indeed, he has stated that if the decision to swap to Android doesn’t result in the company returning to the black by next year, he will have to consider the long-term future of BlackBerry as a smartphone manufacturer.
The BlackBerry Priv will go on preorder on November 6, and BlackBerry fans should certainly rush out and buy one, as the future of the company and its manufacturing arm is certainly at stake.