As device launches go, the BlackBerry PRIV’s announcement has been anything but ordinary. The first teaser was at BlackBerry’s press event at MWC in February, at which point it was assumed this would just another BlackBerry 10 OS device, albeit one with a slide-out keyboard. We then learned through multiple leaks and rumors that it would be, in fact, an Android phone.
When it came time to officially announce the BlackBerry PRIV, the company used its recent financial results press release to quietly confirm those earlier rumors. Immediately afterwards, John Chen bumbled his way through a product demo in a BNN TV interview. It’s safe to say, the lead up to its eventual public release has been unorthodox. Continuing in the drip-feed approach, BlackBerry today published its first official images of the PRIV.
BlackBerry only published three images: two side profiles and a hero image showing off the exposed physical QWERTY keyboard. There’s not too much to see that we haven’t already seen, the only difference is that this time, these are official pictures.
It’s expected that the former smartphone giant will release the phone to the public in time for the holiday season. It will launch with Android Lollipop out of the box, and run a slightly customized user interface, designed by BlackBerry to bring some of its most-loved features (like the Hub) across platforms. Specs are rumored to be competitive , perhaps the most impressive of which is a 16MP camera on the back with optical image stabilization built in. But more important than that is the secure element added by BlackBerry, as noted in the blog:
Privacy is a fast-disappearing privilege in the modern world. The same goes for productivity. Somewhere along the way, most smartphones evolved from tools into toys, with vendors prioritizing fun over work. With PRIV’s software enhancements, physical keyboard and oversized screen, all enabled by the slider form factor, we’re bringing privacy, productivity, and, oh yes, some sexy, back.
We’re yet to see how successful the PRIV will be for BlackBerry, but, if there’s still a niche in the Android market, it’s the customers who still hanker after a physical keyboard without compromising performance and specs. This could be the perfect device for those people.