Android fans who still desire a physical keyboard have got something to celebrate, because after months of rumors, BlackBerry released an Android phone. It’s called the Priv, and here’s everything we know so far.
Support, price, and pre-order details for the Priv
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said at CES 2016 that the Priv would arrive on Verizon and Sprint “soon,” but while the former may have come true in March, it looks like Sprint subscribers won’t ever get the option from buying the device from their carrier.
Sprint’s “Social Customer Service Team” tweeted at several customers asking for when the Priv would become available on the network — to which Sprint replied the carrier is not interested in selling BlackBerry’s flagship Android device.
The announcement adds fuel to the fire of the Priv’s failure to reignite interest in BlackBerry’s smartphones. CEO Chen said last week the company only sold 600,000 Privs in its fourth quarter, and the company recently cut the device’s price down by $50.
Initially, BlackBerry opened up orders for the Priv in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in late 2015, and expanded availability to Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany in early 2016. Here are all the places where you can buy or reserve an unlocked, SIM-free BlackBerry Priv, as well as the pricing for each of those countries.
Marshmallow and security updates
In a recent interview with Android Central, Ron Louks, Blackberry’s president of devices, commented on the upcoming update to Android Marshmallow 6.0 and monthly security updates. Louks didn’t give a firm date for Marshmallow, but said the update should hit “sometime in the new year,” at least confirming that BlackBerry Priv users will not have to wait long for it.
On security updates, Louks said BlackBerry would try to adhere — at least in Europe — to pushing security updates within a month of Google releasing them. As more malware and vulnerabilities hit Android, manufacturers are being called upon to quickly update devices to make sure users are safe and secure. BlackBerry will import its own security systems as well, to ensure any vulnerabilities are mitigated before Google patches them.
So far, BlackBerry has kept to its word, with the company releasing its February security patch on the first day of the month. As with other Android updates, these security patches hit the unlocked Priv devices first, then carrier variants.
High-end specs and Android
BlackBerry has gone all out with its first Android phone, so the specs are about as high-end as any other flagship Android phone — unfortunately, the Priv also has a high price tag to match.The phone has an intriguing slider design, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a number of years., so that users can choose between a virtual keyboard or a physical keyboard. When you slide the screen back, a full QWERTY keyboard in the old-school BlackBerry style is revealed. The keys are touch sensitive for scrolling and cursor control, too, so you can use it as a trackpad if need be.
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