Late last year, Canadian smartphone manufacturer and specialist security software company, BlackBerry, released their first (official) device running the Android operating system. This is the BlackBerry Priv, based around a 5.4-inch, QHD high resolution curved AMOLED panel and powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 System-on-Chip, which is clocked at up to 1.8 GHz. The Snapdragon 808 is backed up by 3 GB of RAM and the Priv has 32 GB of onboard storage plus a microSD card slot. The Priv comes with an 18MP Sony sensor rear camera and a high capacity battery, which supports Qualcomm QuickCharge and for some models, a wireless charging back. When BlackBerry released the Priv, it was made available running Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with the promise of Android 6.0 Marshmallow to follow early in 2016. The final detail of the device is that it comes with a touch-sensitive slider keyboard design, which may be used as a cursor or mouse pointer, or to scroll around the operating system and applications.
When initially released, the BlackBerry Priv was an exclusive handset to North American cellular carrier, AT&T, although customers could also buy the unlocked device from the BlackBerry website. After the initial sixty days the device was made available with other carriers but the unlocked model has continued to be available from BlackBerry plus other selected retailers. However, the standard, non-offer price of $699 in the US, £559 in the United Kingdom and €779 in Continental Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands), has remained. Whilst it has only been around six months since the Priv was released, we have seen a number of high end competitor devices released in this time – most notable the Samsung Galaxy S7 family and the LG G5. The BlackBerry news today is that the company has dropped the price of the BlackBerry Priv across these three regions.
In the US, the price has dropped by $50 to $649; in the UK the price has fallen by £40 to £529 and the drop in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands is €50 to €729. This is a permanent price drop and takes effect immediately. Alongside the price drop, BlackBerry has reaffirmed that the update of the device to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow will follow later in the year. We are already some months behind the initial estimate that Android Marshmallow will be available in February for the Priv, although it does seem likely that further Marshmallow developments will come through soon enough.