Last year, BlackBerry launched its very first Android smartphone. It was perhaps a sign that the company thought it needed a more widely adopted platform to have a chance of survival, or perhaps just that Android was finally secure enough to consider making hardware for. Either way, the first Google-powered BlackBerry is here at last. But it hasn’t exactly been widely available. Only shoppers in Canada, Germany, the US and the UK could get hold of one. Until today.
As the new year rolls in, BlackBerry has announced that it’s expanding availability to new countries. Now, consumers in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands can all order the BlackBerry PRIV for the first time. ShopBlackBerry sites in those countries have now been updated to include the Android-powered portait-slider.
We’re yet to see how big an impact the PRIV has had on BlackBerry’s fortunes. Over the past few years, the manufacturer has struggle to maintain relevance in a market saturated by low-end and feature-rich smartphones. Granted, those who have always enjoyed the BlackBerry OS still purchased newer devices like the Classic and Passport, but regular consumers saw no reason to continue buying them when iPhones and cheap Android devices could seemingly do more, and had many more apps available.
We’ll get a clearer picture of the PRIV’s performance over the coming quarters. Early indications are that it’s sold enough, and pleased enough customers that BlackBerry is already considering launching another Android phone with a different form factor at some point this year.