The BlackBerry Priv is the first (official) BlackBerry device running a version of Google’s Android operating system. Canadian smartphone and software business, BlackBerry (formerly RIM, Research In Motion) had persevered with the legacy version of BlackBerry OS and the later, much improved and refined BlackBerry 10 operating system, but last year finally released the Android-powered Priv. The Priv has a high end specification; it’s based around a QHD resolution, 5.4-inch AMOLED panel and it’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 System-on-Chip, which consists of a cluster of 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 processors for the lower performance tier and a higher performance, dual core 1.8 GHz cluster of ARM Cortex-A57 application processors. The Snapdragon 808 is backed up by 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, plus a MicroSD card slot. There’s a 3,410 mAh internal rechargeable battery, optional wireless charging backs, a Sony 18MP rear camera and BlackBerry’s hardened operating system. The Priv is currently running Android 5.1 Lollipop but an update to 6.0 Marshmallow is expected.
In the United States, the Priv was originally launched as an exclusive for one of the larger carriers, AT&T. Now that the exclusive has finished, it has been made available on the other carriers, which have adopted the new BlackBerry – apart from Verizon Wireless. However, news today seems to signal that Verizon are to start pre-orders for the device this week and it will be released next. The news follows a long way as a Verizon-flavoured BlackBerry Priv passed through the FCC’s testing and appeared on the 24 December 2015. It is unsure what the reason for the delay is, but back in January the rumours were that the Priv would not surface on Verizon until March.
Today’s story is that a Verizon executive, Jeffrey Nelson, responded to a Twitter query and appears to confirm that preorders for the BlackBerry Priv on the Verizon network will be opening on the 3 March with the device being on sale from the 11 March. We cannot quite take this as confirmation of the dates when the Priv is to be released, but we do expect the device to be available shortly on Verizon. Currently, pricing is not available but the device is $650 on the BlackBerry website and a little more via carriers, but these include the wireless charging back.