BlackBerry announces the Android slider Priv

by Volker Weber

BlackBerry's second quarter earnings report:

Today, BlackBerry is announcing two new additions to its handheld device roadmap.

First, the company will launch a flagship slider device, Priv, which will run on the Android operating system, bringing together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform. In combination with BlackBerry’s efforts to support Android for Work on the BES12 platform, the new device will offer best in class security for enterprise customers. BlackBerry expects the device to be available late in the calendar year in major markets in-store and online, and will release further details in the coming weeks. While the new device will provide a choice in OS to new and existing customers, the company remains committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which enables industry- leading security and productivity benefits.

Second, the company will continue to develop and enhance the BlackBerry 10 operating system and is confirming plans to release platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements, with version 10.3.3 scheduled to be available in March 2016.

People say that if Nokia had only offered Android devices, they would have faired much better. BlackBerry is now going down that road. BlackBerry 10 isn't going anywhere, Amazon apps were not good enough. Now BlackBerry is going to offer a premium Android phone. If this is a success, we are going to see more of that. If not, I don't have high hopes for the BlackBerry handset business.

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The statement "platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements" is missing feature enhancements. That sounds very much like "maintenance mode". If I am reading the tea leaves correctly then BlackBerry is going full Android if that flies for regulated industries.

Comments

I am curious about how that might work as well.

Hubert Stettner, 2015-09-25 15:33

While I understand why they do it, it is nevertheless a big disappointment for me.

BB10 is a great platform due to its speed and usability (once you've got used to it BB10's hub and the gestures are hard to beat). And by the way I switched to BB some years ago for the very reason of finding Android's user experience horrible (and I still do).

Maybe BB are going surprise me by tailoring an Android experience that feels like BB10, but I would be very surprised if that was indeed the case.

Looks like I'm doomed to go through the same experience again that I had with WebOS some years ago.

This is VERY FRUSTRATING.

And by the way, it's all your fault, Volker, as your reviews had inspired me to give the "enemy's phone" a try after all :)

Martin Dietze, 2015-09-25 17:26

AFAIK Priv will have a BlackBerry Hub.

Volker Weber, 2015-09-25 17:42

It's always my fault. I get fired to take the fault. ;-)

And no, it's not a Palm disaster. But as it stands today, app development happens largely on Android and iOS. Blackberry was unable to close the app gap. And an Android device can solve all this in one swoop.

Volker Weber, 2015-09-25 18:15

Why should a company invest into Secure Workplace for Android these times, if the technology might be replaced by "Good Dynamics" soon? Currently it is difficult to say, which direction BlackBerry's product development will take.

Peter Meuser, 2015-09-25 20:27

In my opinion to switch to Android as OS is just a logical step. BBOS10 has stepped with every version toward Android compability. So here we are. Yes, BBOS10 is a superb plattform, but what is the advantage when nobody buys this devices? If the Priv fails, then there is a chance to take this know-how and sell it to other hardware vendors.
I like the features of this device and be thrilled to get my hands on it. If it will succeed will depent on how BlackBerry will implement their features in Android OS. Even the Z10 still receives the current updates and everybody knows how bad OS upgrading on most Android devices works. If the Priv will be a secure Android device with long-term support with all the advantages of BBOS/Secure Work Space it will be a great and very competitive device.

Regarding "Good Dynamics" vs. BB Secure Work Space, I think that John Chen is smart enough to melt both into one solution without the need to install everything new or completely drop the invest of companies in the current BB or Good solution.

A lot of "ifs" but I'm still optimistic that this is the right way.

Torben Volkmann, 2015-09-25 21:25

Torben, Good is struggling to get their customers from legacy Good for Enterprise to the Good Dynamics Platform (Good Work) since last year. Good Work is still under heavy development.

If "Chen" is able to smoothly integrate the development streams of BES and Good Dynamics he would be a true genius.

Peter Meuser, 2015-09-26 07:36

@Peter - Something I say barely: I have faith ;-) Until now he made no visible mistakes.

Torben Volkmann, 2015-09-26 16:49

in the beginning it's a little bit embarrassing. Totally unprepared in my opinion:


http://www.bnn.ca/Video/player.aspx?vid=713580

Karl Heindel, 2015-09-26 18:39

Nice video, thanks for sharing!

This is the vision of BlackBerry now setting its focus on secure software solutions for enterprise mobility? Hopefully not.

Peter Meuser, 2015-09-26 22:02

Still hoping the result will feel like a Blackberry rather than like Android.

Martin Dietze, 2015-09-28 09:44

I hope it feels much like stock Android. That would mean it can advance at Google's pace.

Volker Weber, 2015-09-28 10:01

Again understandable. But then not of interest for me. Apps are not everything. In terms of usability Android lags far behind BB10.

If I wanted an Android device (which I most certainly do not) I doubt that I'd pick a Blackberry device then. There's lots of good hardware for (relatively) less money elsewhere.

Looks like when my Passport retires in a few years time I'll have to say goodbye to its keyboard and get myself an iPhone again :)

Martin Dietze, 2015-09-28 13:55

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