BlackBerry launched the pre-registration page for its BlackBerry Priv device to get potential customers more excited about the company’s first ever secure Android smartphone.
BlackBerry also revealed some specs about the device, which include a 5.4″ dual-curved screen, a rather large 3,410 mAh battery (BlackBerry used to be known for its long-battery life smartphones after all), physical keyboard (making it one of the few companies to still offer one), a Schneider-Kreuznach certified camera, and “extraordinary audio quality.”
The company also said the phone will come with a “DTEK” warning system, which will protect user privacy. BlackBerry didn’t offer any further information about this feature.
From previous leaks and rumors, it came out that the Priv will indeed be a device that focuses heavily on security and privacy. One of the biggest features will be the kernel enhancements the Priv will presumably have thanks to the Grsecurity suite of kernel patches.
Another rumor was about a “Safeguard” feature, which will supposedly confine apps in more secure sandboxes than what’s available by default on Android (although if this is really about just removing permissions, Android 6.0 Marshmallow is already able to do that).
BlackBerry has been doing increasingly worse in the smartphone market in the past few years, in no small part because the market has decided that there are only two main platforms: Android and iOS. Of those two, with iOS locked down by Apple, BlackBerry can only use Android for its phones, but it has delayed doing that until the very last moment.
When it moved from the old BlackBerry OS platform, instead of moving to Android, it decided to buy QNX and turn it into BlackBerry 10 OS to give it one more try with their own OS, before it considers moving to Android. Right now, it doesn’t look like the BlackBerry 10 OS has done much to help its sales, as they have continued to decline.
An Android phone alone is unlikely to turn BlackBerry’s fortunes around within a year, but if it sees progress, the company may be persuaded to continue to improve and even expand its line of secure Android smartphones. In the meantime, BlackBerry 10’s future is uncertain, but it’s hard to believe there will be room for both operating systems, especially if the Priv does well and both consumers and enterprise customers are quickly adopting it.
The BlackBerry Priv could be out by the end of the year, but to know exactly when that will happen you must register to BlackBerry’s pre-registration page.