BlackBerry Priv Android Smartphone Officially Launched

BlackBerry Ltd launched its first Android-based device on Friday, with the future of the company’s hardware business riding on a slick smartphone called Priv that boasts an impressive array of features and a hefty price tag.

The company is betting the Priv’s large curved screen, full array of Android apps from the Google Play store and blend of productivity and security features will help it rebuild its share of the smartphone market, which has slid to under one percent.

With hacking and data theft issues becoming a bigger concern these days, BlackBerry expects keen interest in its pre-loaded DTEK feature that alerts users every time any app attempts to access data, or turn on the phone’s microphone or camera.

“You will be blown away by some of the apps you use and how much data they actually access of yours,” said BlackBerry’s head of devices, Ron Louks.

The smartphone’s “wow” factor, as Louks dubs it, is actually a throwback – a slide out physical keyboard. While the small number of such Android ‘slider’ phones that do exist have had little success in the market, most are dated and clunky, say analysts.

BlackBerry is hoping its sleek design and touch-sensitive keys that allows users to swipe, scroll and set up shortcuts will woo former loyalists back to using the Priv.

Initial reviews of the device were mixed, with many lauding its security offerings, long battery life, camera, dual-keyboard design and other features, but panning the Priv’s high price tag – $699 (roughly Rs. 46,100) without a contract in the United States and C$899 without a contract in Canada.

Still, if the BlackBerry Priv does well, analysts note the device could be a game changer for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

“If the Priv – with its premium price of about $700 (roughly Rs. 46,200) – is a hit, it could drive meaningful growth for the company. Moreover, the smartphone industry tends to be largely perception-driven, and a single hit flagship product can bolster a company’s brand image and create a halo effect around its entire product line,” said research firm Trefis, in a note on Thursday.

Blackberry is pivoting to focus more on software and device management services but has said it will stick with hardware if the segment is profitable.

BlackBerry shares rose 4.7 percent to $7.96 in early trading on Friday on the Nasdaq.

BlackBerry Priv Android Slider Smartphone Detailed by Company

BlackBerry ahead of the commencement of shipping of the Priv smartphone next week wants to make sure users are familiar with all the features. The Canadian company has released a video showing the major features of its upcoming Android handset.

The company in its YouTube video stresses on the privacy and productivity features alongside the familiarity of the Android platform. The video shows some of the highlight features of the BlackBerry Priv including physical keyboard on the slider, BlackBerry Hub, pop-up widgets, 4K video recording support, dual curved edge screen, touch enabled physical keyboard with SmartSlide, rear camera with OIS, and DTEK by BlackBerry. You can watch the video below.BlackBerry Priv Android slider smartphone is up for pre-orders at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,500), and is slated to begin shipping in the US starting November 6.To recall, Priv features a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) Amoled display and sports a pixel density of 540ppi. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM, and supports up to 32GB of expandable storage. An 18-megapixel rear camera is at the rear while a 2-megapixel front-camera is also on board. A massive 3410mAh battery backs the device. The company is yet to reveal the exact Android Lollipop version of the Priv handset.

Recently, BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ or notifications on the curved edge display was spotted in a leak. An image of Productivity Edge on the Priv showed icons for quick viewing calendar, mails, tasks, and contacts. BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ looked similar to Samsung’s People Edge, which primarily allowed users to quickly access select contacts. Samsung also included an option to light up the edge screen when mails, messages, or calls arrive. Samsung had also implemented Apps Edge, which let users pin apps to the edge display.

BlackBerry Priv Android Slider Smartphone Detailed by Company

BlackBerry ahead of the commencement of shipping of the Priv smartphone next week wants to make sure users are familiar with all the features. The Canadian company has released a video showing the major features of its upcoming Android handset.

The company in its YouTube video stresses on the privacy and productivity features alongside the familiarity of the Android platform. The video shows some of the highlight features of the BlackBerry Priv including physical keyboard on the slider, BlackBerry Hub, pop-up widgets, 4K video recording support, dual curved edge screen, touch enabled physical keyboard with SmartSlide, rear camera with OIS, and DTEK by BlackBerry. You can watch the video below.BlackBerry Priv Android slider smartphone is up for pre-orders at $699 (roughly Rs. 45,500), and is slated to begin shipping in the US starting November 6.To recall, Priv features a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) Amoled display and sports a pixel density of 540ppi. Under the hood, it is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor clubbed with 3GB of RAM, and supports up to 32GB of expandable storage. An 18-megapixel rear camera is at the rear while a 2-megapixel front-camera is also on board. A massive 3410mAh battery backs the device. The company is yet to reveal the exact Android Lollipop version of the Priv handset.

Recently, BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ or notifications on the curved edge display was spotted in a leak. An image of Productivity Edge on the Priv showed icons for quick viewing calendar, mails, tasks, and contacts. BlackBerry’s ‘Productivity Edge’ looked similar to Samsung’s People Edge, which primarily allowed users to quickly access select contacts. Samsung also included an option to light up the edge screen when mails, messages, or calls arrive. Samsung had also implemented Apps Edge, which let users pin apps to the edge display.

Why BlackBerry’s Android-powered Priv is a big deal

 

That might as well be the bumper sticker on BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s car. Chen has confirmed that the once dominant BlackBerry will soon release its first smartphone that runs Google’s Android software, rather than the company’s homegrown — and troubled — BlackBerry OS.

Long celebrated and staunchly defended for its privacy and security controls, especially with corporate software protections, BlackBerry has struggled along a path cleaved in two: to reach out to the everyday phone user or to the business user? This identity crisis in the face of exploding iPhone and Android sales ultimately led to BlackBerry’s tailspin in global sales, and to a series of CEO handoffs as the company’s influence further diminished.

After continuing to doggedly release poorly-received phones, a turn to Android now is part of a last-ditch effort to regain a sliver of the company’s faded relevance, while continuing to focus on privacy. Here’s what we know (or think) about the Priv so far.CEO Chen tells us that Priv stands for “privacy” and “privilege,” but not in the Occupy Wall Street way. Rather, the privilege to maintain privacy. Sounds like a stretch, but we get the point.

Unfortunately, BlackBerry hasn’t detailed yet just how it’s going to accomplish the task, so that solution is up in the air. Likely, they’ll build BlackBerry 10 software for remote wiping, encryption, and separating work and personal profiles on top of the Android OS.

BlackBerry would likely continue to sell companies subscriptions to its BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), which is software that helps keep phones private and secure. Samsung, meanwhile, has spun up its Knox security software for corporates, and Apple and IBM work together to safeguard business apps for iPhone. Other handsets, like the Silent Circle Blackphone 2 and crowdfunded Turing Phonealso aim squarely at security-minded folksThe Priv starts with a curved, 5.5-inch display and has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. From the images we seen (above) and the in-person demo Chen gave (below), the keyboard appears fairly slim, so it can tuck into the Priv without adding weight and bulk.Already a tall phone, it’ll be interesting to see how the Priv handles with the QWERTY in full use.Apps are one reason that BlackBerry is giving its own OS the heave-ho, at least for this pilot phone. BlackBerry failed to court enough app developers, despite prolonged attempts to make Android apps easy to port. CEO Chen said in the video above “I think that everybody loved the BlackBerry 10, they really do, but there’s not enough apps.”

As an Android phone, the Priv would have the full weight and breadth of the Google Play store at its disposal, as well as Google’s excellent maps and navigation app, and Google Now. It isn’t clear if the Priv will run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow at launch; the demo would have run an earlier version since Google only last week made the OS available to device-makers.BlackBerry has so far kept mum on the details, apart from Chen’s assurance that it has “the latest Qualcomm specs and the cameras and other good stuff.” So really, other than understanding that the Priv has high-end aspirations, its specs could fall in a range.

I’d expect to see the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with eight cores, and at least a 13-megapixel camera on the back (high-end right now ranges from 13-megapixels up to 21). For the front-facing camera, 5 megapixels or 8 megapixels would fit right in to top-tier competitors.

BlackBerry Priv
You’ll be able to pop out the Priv’s keyboard for composing longer messages.BlackBerry

In the smartphone space, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB of internal storage are typical options. However, since the Leap capped off at 16GB while the Passport included 32GB, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a 64GB Priv. In addition, 4GB of RAM would be considered high these days.

In the past, BlackBerry phones have included microSD card slots if you want to add extra storage, but its batteries don’t pop out.

Pricing and availability

The phone is coming before this year’s holiday season, that we know. And that’s really all we know. BlackBerry phones have long levied higher costs, because of the premium the company places on both its physical keyboard and security software. I’d put the Priv in the $500 to $600 price range, which converts to £330 or £400 and AU$700 or AU$850.

The major question that remains is if BlackBerry will target the Priv to individuals or to companies. For that answer, we’ll need to wait and see.

BlackBerry Priv Leaked Images Show 4K Video Recording, Safeguard App

BlackBerry CEO John Chen last month showcased the company’s first Android smartphone, BlackBerry Priv, in a video. The video did not reveal much about the features of the slider handset at that time. However, now a new set of leaked images show the device’s video recording capabilities and more.

The Android-powered BlackBerry Priv would come with support for 4K (2160×4096 pixels) resolution video recording at 30 frames per second, as shown in the images leaked by N4BB website. The dual-curved screen smartphone would also offer video recording options in full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution and HD (720×1280 pixels) resolution with both 60fps and 30fps (seen below). The smartphone features 18-megpaixel rear camera.

blackberry_priv_video_recording_4k_options_n4bb.jpgAn image also shows the BlackBerry Safeguard app (seen below), which is said to let users view the BlackBerry Priv’s security status. Users can view and edit the smartphone app settings, developer options, screen lock, and more using the application. The report claims the device to run on hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, clubbed with Adreno 418 GPU, something yet to be confirmed by the Canadian smartphone maker, but is in line with previous leaks. The unit seen in the leaked images is said to run on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Images also show Priv to sport a battery level indicator on right-side of the display when charging. The Home button swipe gesture has also been reportedly tweaked.

blackberry_priv_safeguard_app_battery_indicator_n4bb.jpgBased on preliminary leaks and rumours, the Priv (or previously rumoured as Venice) smartphone is said to feature a 5.4-inch QHD (1440×2560 pixels) dual-curved display, 3GB of RAM, an 18-megapixel rear camera, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. BlackBerry is yet to announce a launch date for its Priv Android slider smartphone beyond “late in the calendar year”.

More BlackBerry Priv Specifications Confirmed

BlackBerry Priv

The BlackBerry Priv is the first Android smartphone from BlackBerry, we recently saw some official renders of the handset and now we have some more information on its specifications.

We previously heard that the Priv would feature a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 or 808 processor and now the guys from N4BB have confirmed that the handset will have a 64-bit processor.

There were rumors that the BlackBerry Priv would come with either a 16 megapixel or 18 megapixel camera, this has now been confirmed as an 18 megapixel camera.

The camera on the Priv will be capable of shooting Ultra HD video in 4K at 30 frames per second, the camera will feature Schneider Kreuznach optics.

priv

BlackBerry will be advertising security and privacy as some of the main features on the device, it will come with a new app called BlackBerry Safeguard that will show the security status of your handset based on its settings and what applications are installed.

Previously we heard a number of other rumored specifications for the handset, these included a 5.4 inch display with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, the handset will also come with 3GB of RAM.

The front camera on the new Priv will apparently be a 5 megapixel unit and the device will come with Google’s Android OS, as yet it is not exactly clear which version of Android it will feature.

BlackBerry are expected to launch their new Android smartphone next month, we are expecting some sort of official announcement from the company later this month.

BlackBerry Priv Teased In Some Official Renders

BlackBerry Priv

We recently saw a video of the new BlackBerry Priv with the company’s CEO, John Chen and now BlackBerry has released some official render of their new smartphone.

The Priv will be BlackBerry’s first smartphone to come with Google’s Android OS, it will also come with a range of BlackBerry services and will focus on security and privacy.

BlackBerry Priv

The handset will come with a 5.4 inch display that features a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and the device will be powered by an octa core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Other specifications on the handset will include 3GB of RAM and a range of storage options, probably 32GB and 64GB.

priv 1

There will also be front and rear facing cameras which include a 5 megapixel camera up front and a 16 or 18 megapixel camera on the back.

The handset will come with a slide out QWERTY keyboard and will apparently launch in November, we are expecting the handset to be made official next month.

BlackBerry Priv Named Confirmed By BlackBerry

Blackberry Priv

We recently heard that the new BlackBerry Venice would launch as the BlackBerry Priv and now BlackBerry has confirmed the name of the handset.

BlackBerry confirmed on their Blog that their new Android Smartphone will launch as the BlackBerry Priv and also mentioned that Priv stands for Privilege and Privacy.

PRIV will be the solution for smartphone users who are learning daily of the lack of privacy they have on their current devices. PRIV will be the answer for former BlackBerry users who miss the physical keyboard but needed apps. And, we’re responding to current – and prospective – BlackBerry users who need it all: choice, innovation, security, privacy and productivity.

The BlackBerry Priv will be the company’s first Android device, it will feature a slide out QWERTY keyboard and will come with a range of BlackBerry features and apps built in.

priv

The handset is rumored to come with a 5.4 inch display with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, processing will be provided by a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.

Other specifications on the device will include 3GB of RAM and a choice of storage options, possible 32GB and 64GB, it will also feature dual cameras.

The front camera on the handset is said to be a 5 megapixel version, the rear camera will apparently either feature a 16 megapixel or 18 megapixel sensor.

BlackBerry are rumored to be launching their new Android device in November, we are expecting an official announcement about the device next month.

BlackBerry Venice Slider Shown Off On

BlackBerry Venice

We have seen various photos of the new BlackBerry Venice or BlackBerry Slider, the handset will be BlackBerry’s first Android device and now we have a video showing off the handset.

In the video below we get to have a look at the new BlackBerry Venice and the device’s slide out QWERTY keyboard.

 

The BlackBerry Venice featured in the video is apparently an evaluation unit, the video was released by Canadian smartphone retailer Baka Mobile.

The handset is rumored to come with a 5.4 inch display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and it will feature 3GB of RAM and a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor.

The BlackBerry Venice is expected to feature a 5 megapixel front facing camera for video calls and selfies plus an 18 or 16 megapixel rear camera. As we can see in the video, as well as having Google’s Android OS, the Venice will come with a range of BlackBerry features.

We previously heard that the new BlackBerry Android device would launch some time in November so we may get some sort of official announcement from BlackBerry next month.

BlackBerry Posts Bigger-Than-Expected Loss, Shares Slump

BlackBerry Ltd reported a bigger-than-expected second-quarter loss on Friday, as revenue from its once-iconic smartphone slid further, sending shares down nearly 4 percent in premarket trading.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said it expects “modest” sequential revenue growth in the remaining two quarters of this fiscal year and a return to profitability in the fourth quarter.

Still, analysts noted revenue growth from BlackBerry’s software arm was weak. The company, whose smartphone market share has shrunk in recent years, has based its turnaround plan on selling more software.

“I’m happy to give them credit for patent licensing, but that’s not what we’re talking about in terms of high-value recurring revenue,” said CIBC analyst Todd Coupland. “Software needs to offset the services decline, and it didn’t happen this quarter, it got worse.”

Earlier this month, BlackBerry agreed to buy rival mobile software maker Good Technology for $425 million (roughly Rs. 2,809 crores). The deal is expected to help the smartphone industry pioneer win new clients for its services business, a priority as it shifts its focus to device management software for enterprise customers.

Coupland said the slower-than-expected growth in its software revenue underscored why BlackBerry needed to make the Good acquisition.

Excluding one-time items like a non-cash credit tied to the value of debentures and restructuring charges, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company reported a quarterly loss of $66 million (roughly Rs. 436 crores), or 13 cents a share.

On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had, on average, forecast a loss of 9 cents a share.

Including the impact of the non-cash gain, in the period ended Aug. 29, it earned a net profit of $51 million (roughly Rs. 337 crores). That compared with a loss of $207 million (roughly Rs. 1,368 crores) a year earlier.

Revenue fell 46.5 percent to $490 million (roughly Rs. 3,238 crores) in the quarter, well below the average expectation of $610.6 million (roughly Rs. 4,035 crores).

Android device
The company confirmed it would release a smartphone running Google’s Android operating system. The device, named ‘the Priv,’ will be available later this year.

“Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,” said BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen in a statement.

While the new device will provide a choice in operating systems to new and existing customers, the company said it remains committed to its own BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry shares fell 4 percent to $6.75 (roughly Rs. 446) in early trading before the opening bell.