When BlackBerry launched their first Android-powered smartphone, the Priv, into the United Kingdom it was made available at two sources: the BlackBerry shop website and Carphone Warehouse. BlackBerry are selling the device for £559 and Carphone Warehouse at a slightly discount of £530. As with AT&T in North America, BlackBerry gave a retailer the exclusive on the device for a particular market for the initial couple of months. This now appears to have come to a close as we’ve news today that online retailer, Unlocked Mobiles, is selling the device for £545. This brings the number of retailers for the Priv in the UK up to three, but the number is sure to change over the coming weeks if BlackBerry has made the device available for more retailers to stock.
To remind readers of the BlackBerry Priv, the first BlackBerry to be released running Android, the device is based around a high resolution 5.4-inch AMOLED panel and behind this, a slide-down capacitive keyboard, which may also function as a trackpad. Under the skin, the Priv uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 System-on-Chip (which consists of two ARM Cortex-A57 application cores at 1.8 GHz and a quad cluster of ARM Cortex-A53s at 1.4 GHz), 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB of onboard storage, plus a MicroSD card that supports cards of up to 200 GB. BlackBerry have given the Priv an 18MP rear camera, a 2MP front facing camera and a 3,410 mAh battery. The device was launched running Android 5.1 Lollipop and an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow is coming soon. However, writing of software, BlackBerry have hardened the Android operating system for the Priv and the device comes bundled with a number of BlackBerry’s special features, such as the BlackBerry Hub, a means of keeping messages, contacts, call logs and similar combined into the one area. Furthermore, BlackBerry have been working hard to keep the operating system up to date with Google’s latest patches, putting to shame the familiar names of the Android world such as Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Sony. The device is interesting from the perspective of being the first BlackBerry running Android, and a modern Android device with a keyboard.
It remains to be seen how well the BlackBerry Priv will sell into the UK, US and Canadian, and of course the global markets. The device is being seen as something of a last stand for BlackBerry selling devices as the business has repeatedly said that should they be unable to make a profit from devices, they will stop building and selling smartphones. This would be a shame as regardless if one likes the idea of an Android device with a keyboard, that BlackBerry are keeping the Priv’s software up to date where other long established names in the industry are failing, is good news.