The BlackBerry Priv is the first BlackBerry device running Android on middling to high end hardware. The Priv is based around a QHD 5.4-inch display, that is 1,440 by 2,560 pixel resolution. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 running the show equipped with 3 GB of RAM. There’s 32 GB of internal storage plus a MicroSD card slot and a 3,410 mAh battery. Around the back, BlackBerry have given the device an 18MP main camera and Android 5.1.1 Lollipop runs the show. As BlackBerry’s first Android-powered smartphone, the Priv carries the weight of BlackBerry’s security reputation and industry eyes will be watching to see how the device performs.
Since the first rumors of an Android-powered BlackBerry device started circulating, the Android world has changed. From a security perspective, we’ve seen how the Stagefright scare has encouraged Google to improve how quickly it rolls out critical vulnerability patches and has now moved to a monthly schedule. We have also seen how BlackBerry have negotiated with carriers in order to push updates to the Priv directly to customers without navigating through the carrier’s internal testing. This is great news for customers as it should considerably shorten the time it takes between Google releasing a critical security patch and it arriving on our devices.
However, with the BlackBerry Priv, the device has been launched running an older version of Android, 5.1.1 Lollipop. Customers, or would-be customers, want to know when Android 6.0 Marshmallow will be released for the device and BlackBerry have news in this regard: Android Marshmallow will be out in 2016 for the BlackBerry Priv. Yes; 2016 stretches for a full year, but it means that customers buying the device today won’t be receiving the update for around a couple of months yet. As 2016 draws closer we are optimistic that BlackBerry will refine their estimate of the release of Android 6.0 for the Priv! However, between now and then the device isn’t going to be neglected by BlackBerry’s software engineers as the business is aiming to get Google’s critical vulnerability patches to the device within a month of release. Clearly, there is a lot riding on the success (or otherwise) of the BlackBerry Priv, but the Canadian smartphone veteran is making all of the right noises in order to produce a device that both traditional BlackBerry customers, and Android fans, want.