Android fans who still desire a physical keyboard have got something to celebrate, because after months of rumors, BlackBerry released an Android phone. It’s called the Priv, and here’s everything we know so far.
Support, price, and pre-order details for the Priv
BlackBerry CEO John Chen said at CES 2016 that the Priv would arrive on Verizon and Sprint “soon,” but while the former may have come true in March, it looks like Sprint subscribers won’t ever get the option from buying the device from their carrier.
@CU4ABeer Sorry to say but we will no longer carry the BlackBerry PRIV. If this changes in the future we will update customers. JXC
— Sprint Care (@sprintcare) April 8, 2016
Sprint’s “Social Customer Service Team” tweeted at several customers asking for when the Priv would become available on the network — to which Sprint replied the carrier is not interested in selling BlackBerry’s flagship Android device.
The announcement adds fuel to the fire of the Priv’s failure to reignite interest in BlackBerry’s smartphones. CEO Chen said last week the company only sold 600,000 Privs in its fourth quarter, and the company recently cut the device’s price down by $50.
Initially, BlackBerry opened up orders for the Priv in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada in late 2015, and expanded availability to Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany in early 2016. Here are all the places where you can buy or reserve an unlocked, SIM-free BlackBerry Priv, as well as the pricing for each of those countries.
- ShopBlackBerry U.S. ($700 USD)
AT&T was the first U.S. carrier to offer the BlackBerry Priv. It’s available in retail stores and online, and customers can purchase the phone for $250 with a two-year contract or via AT&T Next with $0 down. You have your choice of Next 24 (30 payments) for $24.67 per month, Next 18 (24 months) for $30.84 per month, or Next 12 (20 months) for $37 per month. The total comes to $740.
If you’re wondering about T-Mobile, the carrier has offered the device since January 26. You can get the Priv with the Uncarrier’s Jump! On Demand program for $0 upfront and $34 a month for 18 months or you can get the Priv for $0 down and $30-a-month payments for 24 months. All the info is in T-Mobile’s press release.
Verizon began offering BlackBerry’s Priv on March 4, and is offering the phone for $720 off-contract, or $30 per month for 2 years.
- ShopBlackBerry Italy (779 euros)
- ShopBlackBerry Netherlands (779 euros)
- ShopBlackBerry Spain (779 euros)
We’ll continue to update this section as more pricing information becomes available.
Marshmallow and security updates
In a recent interview with Android Central, Ron Louks, Blackberry’s president of devices, commented on the upcoming update to
On security updates, Louks said BlackBerry would try to adhere — at least in Europe — to pushing security updates within a month of Google releasing them. As more malware and vulnerabilities hit
So far, BlackBerry has kept to its word, with the company releasing its February security patch on the first day of the month. As with other
High-end specs and Android
BlackBerry has gone all out with its first
Adding flair to the eccentric design is an immersive dual-curved screen made out of Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The 5.4-inch OLED packs a pixel resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 and a pixel density of 540ppi. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor powers the Priv, along with 3GB of
BlackBerry placed 32GB of storage in the Priv, which is expandable out to 2TB via a MicroSD card slot. A 3,410mAh battery promises to keep the phone running through 22.5 hours of mixed use, according to BlackBerry. Luckily, it supports Quick Charge 2.0, so even if the Priv doesn’t last as long as BlackBerry says it does, you’ll be able to juice it up quickly.
On the back of the phone, there’s an 18-megapixel dual-flash camera that’s certified by Schneider-Kreuznach. The camera app offers settings so you can tweak the photos, and the sensor itself boasts Phase Detection Auto Focus, OIS, and dual-color flash. There’s also a 2-megapixel, front-facing camera.
BlackBerry’s new Android apps
When it comes to software, BlackBerry’s added a few bells and whistles to make
BlackBerry released a range of apps onto the Google Play store in late October. The apps will be pre-installed on the BlackBerry Priv, and are apparently only usable on that device. Users who tried to download the apps were informed that their devices are incompatible.
The apps include: BlackBerry Launcher, Keyboard, Camera, and Services. Password Keeper has been added to store all passwords in a single folder, encrypted and secured by BlackBerry — the app can also import info for previous BlackBerry owners moving to
Having all of the applications on the Google Play store should make them instantly available without a firmware update. BlackBerry plans to offer an almost stock experience, with additional security and some new applications ported over from BB10.
You can check out all the specs and more information on BlackBerry’s website here.
Next page: All the rumors and news prior to the preorder announcement
Official images show us what’s in store
After officially announcing the BlackBerry Priv, the company acknowledged an outpouring of interest on its blog. It’s obvious that fans want more information, and while BlackBerry isn’t ready to divulge all the details of the Priv, the company did post three images of the phone to whet our appetites.
The images look very similar to previous leaked images, but we now know for sure what the Priv will look like. One thing to note that wasn’t always obvious in prior images is the button placement on the right side. The power button is placed between the volume up and down keys. This will likely add some confusion to current
It appears that BlackBerry is poised to take advantage of this new-found attention. The company plans on releasing more pictures, videos, and hardware specs in drips and drabs leading up to the official unveiling.
Super specs and a high price
You can pre-register interest in the BlackBerry Priv on the company’s website, but official details on the phone are still limited. We do know it’ll have a 5.4-inch touchscreen with curved edges, a slide-out keyboard, and a 3140mAh battery inside. The camera will feature Schneider-Kreuznach technology.
Unofficially, we know a little more, after a complete spec list was published by BlackBerry on its website, before being quickly taken down. The list was then republished over at the CrackBerry forums. It states the 5.4-inch screen will have a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution for a 540ppi pixel density, and that a Snapdragon 808 with 3GB of
The battery is supposedly a 3410mAh cell with fast charging capabilities, and while it’ll probably be fixed in place, the Priv should have wireless charging and support both the Qi and PMA standards. None of this is official yet though, and the BlackBerry page has been removed, so there could be changes between now and the release.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said the Priv will launch later this year, and that the company’s in talks with carriers to offer the phone with a contract. Although he hasn’t give an exact cost, he said the Priv will have a “high-end price.” The aforementioned BlackBerry webpage that leaked the specs, also leaked the price — a steep $750 unlocked. The Passport sells for around $600, and even the most expensive
Priv is for Privacy
At the Recode Mobile 2015 conference in October, CEO John Chen emphasised the importance of security, saying that by integrating
After this, BlackBerry has revealed a little more about how the phone will improve on
Most importantly, it promises to keep on top of newly discovered vulnerabilities, and quickly patch them with software updates — something the rest of the
A mysterious new app called BlackBerry Dtek will be installed, which will be a Priv exclusive, that will monitor the phone and act as an early warning system for potential privacy issues. There are no details yet, but BlackBerry says it’s made for convenience, indicating annoying popups asking for permission to do something should be kept to the minimum.
Finally, the Priv will come with BlackBerry’s Picture Login system, introduced with BlackBerry OS 10.2.1. It’s an usual way of mixing pictures and a simple password to secure your phone, and protects the user from many common ways for hackers to figure out your password. Although no details are offered, BlackBerry says it has “performed extensive surgery” inside
Next page: Read the rumors leading up to the BlackBerry Priv’s official announcement
All the rumors before the BlackBerry Priv officially launched
In late September, inside the company’s second quarter financial results, BlackBerry confirmed it was making an
CEO John Chen wrote in a statement that the company is “focused on making faster progress to achieve profitability in our handset business,” and this has resulted in the Priv, an
The Priv will have a slider design, and support both
We’re told more will be revealed in the coming weeks, and the device will be sold in stores and online before the end of the year.
A Blackberry phone with a codename of Venice leaked back in June, and was believed to be running
The Venice was shown to have a slide-out physical keyboard, suggesting it was the mysterious slider device CEO John Chen teased at Mobile World Congress. Rumors said the display supposedly has dual-curved edges just like the Galaxy S6 Edge.
In mid-September, Baka Mobile released a hands on video with an alleged BlackBerry Venice evaluation unit. This video reveals a quick launcher to the BlackBerry Hub, Google services, and global searching for both the Web and phone data. The default Web search appears to be Google since the Google Search bar is active on the main screen.
The main interface looks very close to stock
We also get a fantastic look at the physical keyboard and the sliding mechanism. The keyboard itself is capacitive, meaning that you will be able to swipe it to scroll content on the main display. It looks really slick.
Content freaks will also be happy to know that a MicroSD slot is onboard as well. Unfortunately, we don’t know how large a card it will accept.
On top of the video, Android Authority released a few more pictures of the BlackBerry Venice. The pictures don’t reveal anything new other than they continue to confirm the existence of
Apparently more than a few people were sporting the BlackBerry Venice at the Toronto Film Festival in mid-September. This isn’t a surprise since the company’s headquarters is only 70 miles away. One fan was able to sneak up behind someone using the said device and capture it on camera.
Although not the greatest photo, it showed the Venice running
The first high-quality images of what could be the BlackBerry Venice slider appeared online in late August. They give further confirmation to what the keyboard looks like and the presence of Google apps. However, this is the first time we get to see the sliding mechanism from the back of the device. You will also notice that the rear camera will likely sport dual LED flash.
Famous leaker Evan Blass posted two GIFs in mid- to late August of what could be the BlackBerry Venice. The first animation is a closeup of the physical keyboard and the rear 18-megapixel camera.
This second animation shows the keyboard sliding down. You will also see that many Google apps appear on the device indicating that it will be Google certified.
Following a variety of shadowy leaked images, a clear press-style image of what may be the BlackBerry Venice was posted on Twitter by Evan Blass in mid-August. The picture shows the phone with its slider section extended, revealing a physical keyboard. Above it, on the display, is what looks like
In mid-August, Crackberry forum member Mikey_NNG posted an alleged image of the on-screen keyboard from the BlackBerry Venice. He claims to have played with the device for a few minutes and it was running
Alleged renders of the BlackBerry Venice were posted in early August by Crackberry, and they reveal an
Android and Google Play?
A GIF posted by leaker Even Blass in late August reveals the BlackBerry Productivity Suite, which includes the BlackBerry Hub, contacts, and unified calendar apps. These apps are not presently available on
Leaked photos of the Venice and possible marketing materials suggest the phone will have complete access to Google’s apps. Early on, the Chromecast icon appeared in the renders, for example. The latest picture of the phone shows a wide variety of
In addition to the presentation slides posted by Crackberry — which also showed an image of the previously leaked 18-megapixel rear camera — another two slides were added to the collection by Evan Blass on his Twitter account, this time showing the phone with Google Play on the screen, and one referencing a content transfer app. In this slide, reference is made to an “
In early August, a tweet stated that T-Mobile will offer the BlackBerry Venice slider, which followed the news that AT&T would also offer the phone.
BlackBerry Venice slated for T-Mobile lineup, as well.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) August 8, 2015
The Android-powered BlackBerry Venice slider is AT&T-bound.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 2, 2015
BlackBerry’s second Android phone could be codenamed ‘Prague’ and based on the Passport
In late August, images of black and silver BlackBerry Passports running
According to Dudu Rocha, this Passport
The images were lifted from a video, and shortly after they were posted online, the entire video was discovered. The silver Passport is identified under the codename Oslo, and appears to run
This same phone was tweeted about in early July as a second BlackBerry phone running
The above image cannot be the Venice since it doesn’t appear to be a slider. We can only assume it’s the Prague, but the codename wasn’t specified. Earlier reports said the Prague would resemble the BlackBerry Z3, but this image looks more like a Passport (pictured below).
There’s still confusion over BlackBerry’s plans
While the Venice is expected to be a premium handset, sources say that BlackBerry is thinking about emerging markets for another
However, as of late September, BlackBerry has only announced one
Updated on 04-11-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added news that Sprint will not carry the Priv.
Updated on 02-29-2016 by Williams Pelegrin: Added news that Verizon could open up BlackBerry Priv pre-orders in a few days. Also added info on security updates.
Updated on 01-19-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added news that T-Mobile will offer the Priv on January 26. Also added pricing info.
Updated on 01-06-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added announcement of T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon availability, in addition to expanded international availability.
Updated on 11-17-2015 by David Curry: Added in T-Mobile USA comments on BlackBerry and the Priv.
Updated on 11-09-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in official news the BlackBerry Priv will come to Verizon soon
Updated on 11-06-2015 by David Curry: Added in comments on Marshmallow and security updates
Updated on 11-02-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in AT&T availability and pricing.
Updated on 11-02-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in a leaked photo that could show the BlackBerry Priv connected to Verizon.
Updated on 10-27-2015 by David Curry: Added in BlackBerry’s new apps for
Updated on 10-23-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in official pricing, preorder information, and specs for the BlackBerry Priv.
Updated on 10-23-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in leaked pricing and a list of newly leaked specs for the Priv.
Updated on 10-20-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in further information on the Priv, with new specs, how it improves on
Updated on 10-08-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in further information on the Priv, revealed by BlackBerry CEO John Chen.
Updated on 10-01-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in official images of the Priv released by BlackBerry
Updated on 09-25-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in official news that the BlackBerry Priv is real, and coming in the near future.
Updated on 09-14-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in a hands on video and more pictures of the BlackBerry Venice.
Updated on 09-14-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in image of BlackBerry Venice at Toronto Film Festival.
Updated on 08-30-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in hands on images of the BlackBerry Venice slider.
Updated on 08-25-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in a video showing a silver BlackBerry Passport running
Updated on 08-23-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in new animated GIF images of the BlackBerry Venice running
Updated on 08-19-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in new images of the BlackBerry phone, plus information it may have access to Google Play.
Updated on 08-16-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in renders of the Venice, along with a photo of its on-screen keyboard.
Updated on 08-10-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in news of the “Venice” possibly headed to T-Mobile.
Updated on 07-02-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in news of the “Venice” headed to AT&T and an image of what could be another BlackBerry
Updated on 06-19-2015 by Robert Nazarian: Added in news of another rumored
- TikTok should be expelled from app stores, senator says
- This Apple leaker just revealed tons of changes for iOS 17 and iPhone 15
- Android phones are stealing (and beating) the iPhone 14’s best feature at CES 2023
- CES 2023: Samsung’s new Galaxy A14 looks like a killer $200 Android deal
- When is my phone getting Android 13? Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and more