BlackBerry’s first-ever Android-powered smartphone, the Priv, will be officially launched in Malaysia next week. Interestingly, by sheer coincidence the launch will take place on the same day as another highly-anticipated Android smartphone: the Nexus 6P.
A departure and a throwback to BlackBerry’s past, the Priv sports modern hardware while reintroducing a slide-out keyboard, a hallmark of BlackBerry’s iconic Storm smartphones of yesteryear. The Priv sports a sharp 5.4-inch 2560 x 1440 dual-curved OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (expandable with a microSD card up to 2TB), a 3,410mAh battery, and of course, LTE connectivity. Rounding out the Priv’s specifications are an 18MP rear camera with optical image stabilisation, and a 2MP front-facing shooter.
Oh, and of course the touch-enabled physical QWERTY keyboard, which slides out underneath the display.
The Priv, which has already passed SIRIM certification some time back, also promises to be one of the most secure Android smartphones to date, with BlackBerry’s security-focused approach going all the way to the manufacturing process. The Priv is built on a manufacturing process that embeds cryptographic keys into the hardware, while Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain uses the embedded keys to verify every layer of the device, from the hardware to the operating system. A new DTEK app will also help manage passwords and privacy settings by informing users about which apps are accessing their personal infomation. The app will also warn users if their password is too weak, and provide help with improving their security rating.
All these software additions means the Priv will not only prevent malware from running unverified apps in the background, but the additional security layers will mean a lot more to the Priv’s target market of top-ranking business and government officials worried about any sort of security risks.
At a retail price of $699 (about RM2,960), the Priv will not come cheap when it launches in Malaysia. Nevertheless, one cannot simply put a price on security for those who matter. We’ll be at the event to cover the launch as it happens, so stay tuned!