Update: You can now order the BlackBerry PRIV from Verizon Wireless for $30.00 per month with $0 down, or pay the full $720 retail price.

According to several Verizon staff members commenting in CrackBerry‘s forums, the carrier is preparing for a retail launch next week. It has seemingly been confirmed that the device will go on sale on March 11, with pre-orders opening on March 3.

It’s safe to say that BlackBerry has been cautious in its approach to market with its first Android smartphone. That is to say, the PRIV has taken its own sweet time in making its way to the big four US carriers. It reached T-Mobile last month, and is yet to be launched on Sprint. AT&T, of course, was the first and had something of an exclusive on the PRIV when it first became available back in November.

As a device, the BlackBerry PRIV has a number of unique features to set it apart from the rest of the flagship Android smartphones. The physical keyboard and physical slider form factor are among those, as is BlackBerry’s own custom software. This engrained UI includes the Hub which sorts all notifications in to one single inbox, and the DTEK security software which helps you monitor how secure your phone is.

Although a great phone, it’s interesting timing from Verizon and BlackBerry, to say the least. Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge will be available to buy next week as well, and will undoubtedly be very popular among shoppers looking for a new phone. Saying that, sales of the QWERTY-equipped portrait slider have been better than expected, leaving BlackBerry’s chief feeling “cautiously optimistic” about his company’s future. In fact, its popularity may be the reason the Canadian tech company is considering an all-Android future.

About the Author

Cam Bunton's favorite gear