Blackberry’s first Android phone, the Blackberry PRIV, have been making waves overseas. It’s high time that the waves hit Malaysian shores. Thanks to Brightstar, that’s happening.
First, let’s take a look at what the Blackberry PRIV brings to the table. The PRIV comes with a 64-bit hexacore (6-core) Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 1.4 GHz with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. The Blackberry Priv also comes with SD card support for added storage. The internals of the phone is impressive to say the least but performance wise, there a lot to prove.
The PRIV comes with a 5.4-inch Quad HD AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels. The display has a pixel density of 540 pixels per inch (ppi). The display is a sleek dual curved edge screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection.
On the camera side of things, it comes with an f/2.2 18-megapixel rear camera with Schneider-Kreuznach optics. It also comes with optical image stabilization (OIS) and phase detection autofocus. The rear camera is capable of 4K Ultra HD video recording at 30 frames per second and has a dual tone flash. The front facing camera, on the other hand, is a 2-megapixel camera.
The phone comes with bluetooth 4.1 connectivity and support for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and 4G LTE. It also has support for Near Field Communications (NFC) and GPS. The Blackberry PRIV comes with a 3410 mAh non-removable lithium ion battery with a touted 420 hour standby time and 24 hour talktime.
The PRIV comes with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop out of the box with what looks to be a minimally skinned version of the popular operating system. Blackberry has promised an update to latest version, Marshmallow in the near future.
BlackBerry PRIV is Secure
As you can see, the Blackberry PRIV comes with all the bells and whistles that you’d want for an Android device. But it comes with two major differentiating factors: security and a physical keyboard.
While Google has taken steps to secure android with its integration of elements of Samsung’s KNOX framework into the operating system, Blackberry has taken it to the next level. The Canadian company has fortified the operating system further by “hardening” the underlying programming of Android through multiple configuration and a number of patches which address a number of vulnerabilities.
In addition, BlackBerry implements full disk encryption of the highest standards, the injection of cryptographic keys into the device hardware during manufacturing and a more secure boot process for the device. Security is further enhanced with the PRIV’s access to the BlackbBerry infrastructure and the BES12 which has been the backbone of BlackBerry’s success in the past.
Reviving the Physical Keyboard
The second key selling feature of the PRIV is BlackBerry’s commitment to the physical keyboard. Just when we thought physical keyboards went the way of the dinosaurs, BlackBerry brings it into the future. In addition to the 5.4-inch touchscreen, the user of experience is augmented with the Canadian company’s signature hardware.
For those who have been waiting for a worthy successor of BlackBerry Bold and Curve, this is pretty much it.
Beginning of a New Era?
The BlackBerry PRIV could mark the beginning of new era for the company. The phone has had a positive impact on the financial status of the company. Stock prices have increased and sales have been good.
[pullquote]My first goal is to get us into a break-even position with the device business, because you really couldn’t do anything strategically with a business that continues to lose money. We’re in that ballpark now.
– John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry[/pullquote]
It was forecasted that BlackBerry would sell 900,000 units of the PRIV. However, the company only sold 700,000 units – 200,000 units shy. That isn’t stopping the company though. Chief Executive Officer, John Chen, says the company is heading in the right direction. He says the company is well on its way almost breaking even with the production of the PRIV.
This was largely due to the acquisition of Good Technology Corp. and revenues from software products from the acquisition. In addition, lower engineering costs due to the adoption of Android as the operating system of choice also contribute.
One Major Achilles Heel
While the BlackBerry PRIV remains a compelling device, it has one major achilles heel: pricing. The device is set to retail for a whopping RM3,559 inclusive of GST (USD$831). The price is well above the highest priced devices available on the market. While this may be good for the company, it will undoubtedly make the device less competitive in the consumer markets.
However, as with BlackBerry’s previous marketing success, their main market will be big corporations who have been looking for secure devices for their employees and to protect private data.
Be that as it may, the consumer market cannot be ignored for long and BlackBerry knows it. There are clear indications that the corporation will consider reviewing its pricing come CES 2016 due to the pressure of new devices being introduced into the market.
[pullquote]In about Mobile World Congress time, we will see introduction of new technology from our competitors. We have maybe a midlife kicker coming in around that time, but I expect ourselves to have to reduce our price to be competitive.[/pullquote]
BlackBerry PRIV is Just the Beginning
BlackBerry is keeping a keen eye on how the PRIV performs over the next quarter. This will set the direction of the company in the next year. It will determine whether the company decides to produce a “super-mid” tier device, the price of which consumers will undoubtedly find more appealing.
Let us know in the comments down below, whether you will consider buying the BlackBerry PRIV and why. Also, will you buy a mid-tier device from BlackBerry?