A quick visit to the BlackBerry website shows that some things haven’t changed, while so many other things have. That starts with dedicated pages for the likes of the PRIV, which markets so much security for a mobile device that it being a BlackBerry-branded device makes perfect sense. But, at the very same time, you’ve got the PRIV running Android — certainly not BlackBerry’s proprietary mobile operating system.
The PRIV is a smartphone that offers a connection to BlackBerry’s past, and what is most obviously BlackBerry’s future.
Continuing to peruse BlackBerry’s site shows that, despite its best efforts to put a lot of attention on the PRIV, the company still has other options. That includes the Passport, the company’s last real effort at launching a handset with the company’s self-made OS on board. BlackBerry 10 offered quite a bit, but it never had a real chance at capturing the developers out there, something that BlackBerry and Microsoft still have in common.
Microsoft is holding out, even if it’s taking a break from its own mobile platform for a bit, and probably keeping its fingers crossed that its universal app platform works out in spades in the months ahead.
BlackBerry on the other hand has been forced to take a different tack, and has essentially dropped its efforts with BlackBerry 10 to go with Android, which obviously doesn’t have any issues getting support from developers to fill its app store. BlackBerry is now another Android hardware partner, just like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, and many others.
Who knows if that’s a bad thing or not. The PRIV was released back in November of 2015, so BlackBerry is still in the growing stages of this major shift in strategy. It feels like we came pretty close to losing BlackBerry though, doesn’t it? And even if we haven’t, seeing the company adopt Android as its mobile platform of choice feels like a loss in and of itself.
BlackBerry’s PRIV feels like a bridge from the company’s older devices and what we expect from Android smartphones. That slider design is almost retro, and yet it’s the perfect way to do it, too. BlackBerry owners expect to find a top-tier hardware keyboard, and most Android users want a big, high-definition touchscreen.
So are these the types of devices we should expect from BlackBerry at this point? Is the PRIV it? Would BlackBerry launch a device like the 9900/9930 (I loved that phone so much!) with Android on it? Would people buy that? Would you? Do you miss the old BlackBerry at all? Or are you a BlackBerry PRIV owner that’s happy with where the company is going?