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BlackBerry peddles PRIV in new YouTube video, but some aren’t buying it

Could the BlackBerry PRIV be the last piece of hardware the company makes? Cormark analyst Richard Tse thinks BlackBerry’s financial outlook would improve considerably if the firm ditched hardware altogether.

BlackBerry yesterday posted a walk-through of the features of the PRIV, the company’s first Android phone, and the device that some may think could be the last the company ever makes.

The PRIV features a slide-out physical keyboard plus a virtual keyboard with the company’s “flick-to-type” feature, a screen that is curved on both sides, the BlackBerry Hub (which is one of the the things the company got really, really right with BlackBerry 10), and a battery the company describes as “colossal” and claims can handle 22.5 hours of “mixed use”. BlackBerry says the camera, which is made by Schneider-Kreuznach® is much better and also adds 4K video recording at 30 frames-per-second.

But the biggest difference between the PRIV and other BlackBerry devices, of course, is the operating system. This device runs on Android 5.1.1, which is also known as “Lollipop”.

One of the most interesting things about this PRIV walk through is that BlackBerry seems to be attempting to make its security features graphical and apparent to users, rather than just buried into the build. The company highlighted DTEK, a system that monitors the overall security of the device with a simple red/yellow/green meter and charts a plan of action based on the security result.

BlackBerry is hoping it can sell PRIV to Android users who are concerned with security, but in the past that tact has failed to lure consumers away from devices that are less concerned with privacy, such as the iPhone. BlackBerry’s David Kleidermacher recently cited a recent study from researchers at Cambridge University that found almost nine out of 10 Android devices are exposed to a critical vulnerability that puts customer’s communications and personal data at risk.

“It’s not a good situation,” said Kleidermacher. “However, we at BlackBerry think we can do better.”

BlackBerry made the PRIV available to pre-order a few days ago. It began taking orders for an unlocked version today for $899 in Canada ($699 in the U.S.) and began directing Rogers customers to pre-orders on that carrier’s site.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen has increasingly non-committal about BlackBerry’s hardware business, choosing instead to focus on areas he feels the company has more runway and less pricing pressure, including the Mobile Device Management/Enterprise Mobility Management space (MDM/EMM) and in the the Internet of Things marketplace. Chen recently suggested the company could stop making phones altogether if overall sales didn’t hit the five-million mark.

The BlackBerry boss has already gone on record that the company will never again compete at the low end of the market because he sees to much margin compression there.

“It’ll be a high-end phone that you can walk into AT&T and get it, as a professional,” he he told Bloomberg in a recent interview. “It’s hard to compete with Chinese and Indian manufacturers for the lower end of the market. The low-end phone is not BlackBerry’s sweet spot.”

Some say the writing is on the wall for BlackBerry’s hardware business.

“I do think this is their final experiment. It has all the trappings of a last gasp,” Daniel Bader, the editor-in-chief of device website MobileSyrup told the CBC recently.

Below: PRIV Feature Overview

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About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.
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  1. What a troll headline. So a few have doubts. The majority of news around the net in regards to this device is positive. Why don’t you give the company a break? Just pathetic click bait.

  2. Go BlackBerry! Unfortunately BB10 OS never got any traction-I hope people are willing to give this phone a shot! It could also mean some sweet deals on Passport, which I will gladly buy.

  3. Really, $700 for Android phone and a company which may or may not be round next year. good luck. the only way BB is going to make it is by creating there own open source BB OS..

  4. Cantech should be ashamed for publishing this article, I’m losing more respect every time they post something like this! Brutal!

  5. Some aren’t Buying it? Would that be just you Nick?because every other media feed on this device is Positive, perhaps you should do some actual research before posting such drivel

  6. Totally agree! He didn’t even discuss who “isn’t buying it” in the article anywhere. So sad.

  7. It runs Android, so what’s the risk in buying the device? People have been saying for 5 years now that BB won’t be around next year, yet they’re still here. They may exit the handset business, but they do have a few other things going on.

  8. For our Fanboy “Technical Blog iExperts”

    Do people understand that the battery on the Priv is, literally, 2 times the size of the one in iPhone 6S?

    The screen resolution is superior, the speakers are superior, the choice of the best touchscreen keyboard in the business or the best Qwerty keyboard, the Paratek antenna is superior for phone call clarity and “no dropped calls” and now they have Android apps.

    Most innovative and feature rich phone to be launched in 2015.

    Fear leads to the hate…Go hug a wall….you will feel better….

  9. What a horrible article, no balanced opinion…let me guess Nick iPhone user? The Zealots are out in full force over the PRIV…..I see only Fear

  10. iPhone people are really confused with the innovation of the Priv because the iPhone has remained a bar phone design, since its inception, with an operating system that was designed for a kindergartner to be able to use day one of school…..

    The advancement and change and difference that the Priv represents is very scary to our Apple fans…

  11. Amazing specs that beat iphone and samsung’s and for less money and with actual security.

  12. Some ain’t buying it “Nick Waffle”? LOL The COO Marty Beard and a PRIV ad currently running on the Internet are calling the “Interest and support received for the PRIV since announced EXTRAORDINARY”! Who should we believe, your completely unsubstantiated comments or Blackberry? The PRIV is a Game Changer: Most secure Android smartphone ever created cheaper than iPhone with greater specs, both touch sensitive physical and touch screen keyboards, dual edged Quad HD screen with 540PPI, 18MP professional camera, Blackberry HUB and communication software suite, and killer specs! Get ready for a big surprise and nobody reading this article ain’t buying your drivel!

  13. It’s a fine earliest ad for the iPod Pro, other than best production company I’m not sure if it completely imprison the strength as to why such a big tablet would be of use to the every day iPod customer.

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