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BlackBerry CEO shows off new Priv phone in awkward interview

In a world of carefully crafted sound bites and spin, it was actually rather refreshing to watch BlackBerry boss John Chen fumble his way through a TV interview with Business News Network (BNN) in which he attempted to show off the company’s new Priv smartphone.

Announced on Friday, the new handset is BlackBerry’s first device to run Android, or “Google” as Chen calls the mobile OS in the interview.

BNN’s Amber Kanwar kicks off the piece (embedded below) by asking to see the slider keyboard, one of the phone’s key features that the company hopes will help win back users who in recent years ditched BlackBerry for Android handsets or Apple’s iPhone.

But Chen has other ideas, telling Kanwar, “I was going to do that last because I always impress people when I do that.”

The BlackBerry boss seems a bit lost with his new Priv, leaving us to watch uncomfortably as he hastily aborts an attempt to launch Chrome, with a flurry of taps and swipes leading nowhere.

Returning to the main screen, he considers opening another app before thinking better of it, opting instead to inform us that the new smartphone has “the latest specs, literally the latest Qualcomm specs, and the cameras and other good stuff.”

Keen to move things along and possibly get the hell out, the CEO proudly reveals the slide-out keyboard before uttering something about its capacitive capability making it ideal for “reading big email.”

It’s almost as if Chen’s been on a long vacation, returning on Friday to the news that the company has a new phone out and would he mind doing a quick interview about it, before being shoved in front of the camera.

In a more carefully worded statement supposedly penned by Chen and posted online on Friday, the CEO said the Priv will “combine the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.”

The Priv’s specs should be released in the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can head over to DT’s special page on the new phone to learn more about what to expect.