Your next Android device should be a BlackBerry

by Volker Weber

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My big frustration with Android used to be how quickly they were abandoned by their manufacturers. That is why I said you should buy a Nexus if you really wanted an Android device that gets updates. But this is about to change in a big way.

What is more important than the latest release of Android is the latest security patch. And BlackBerry has changed this game. Nothing has received patches more timely than the BlackBerry Priv. Nothing, not even a Nexus. And BlackBerry has made big changes under the hood to deliver a device that cannot be rooted. That is a problem for tinkerers but not for people who want a secure device.


The Priv however has been way too expensive for most people. And this is where the game will change. I have researched the three new BlackBerry devices coming up in the next three quarters. The first one is codenamed Neon and it will be announced really soon. My bet is on a price point comparable to the BlackBerry Leap. If you want to spend more, you can wait for Argon, and if you need a hardware keyboard, you can wait even longer for Mercury, or just get the Priv. But Neon is the device that changes the landscape.

You will be able to buy a secure Android device at an affordable price.


How soon is really soon?

David Guillaume, 2016-07-05

rumours say in the middle of August...

Ralph Hammann, 2016-07-05

@David July 19, maybe?:-)

Horia Stanescu, 2016-07-05

Horia, I will be in New York on July 19, but I don't expect them to announce there. They try to take a broader view there.

Volker Weber, 2016-07-05

Our "provider" for Internet and MDM (MobileIron) says:
iOS = OK,
if Android then Samsung because of "Knox".

What would Blackberry's answer be on that topic?

Marc Patermann, 2016-07-05

BlackBerry would say: ditch MobileIron and get BES 12. :-)

Seriously, MobileIron supports Android for Work, which is implemented very well on BlackBerry Priv and future devices. KNOX is something I also recommend. What I do not like is Samsung being slow to patch Android.

Volker Weber, 2016-07-05

Volker Weber, 2016-07-05

What is Blackberries Business Model?
Do they charge a monthly fee for the premium security? I ask because the Android market is packed but it seems a lot of players don't make any money out of their handset business. Some of them are even shipping much higher volumes. Even Microsoft still sells more devices than Blackberry but it seems they are not happy either.

I personally own a Nexus 5 (the older one) and while the hardware is ok Android still feels a lot like try & error to me. My hope is that there will be more than Android and iOS in the future.

Henning Heinz, 2016-07-05

Henning, don't make me explain BlackBerry's enterprise offerings.

Volker Weber, 2016-07-05

Their hardware division is struggling big time and if will be "kaput" in one year or two, I expect to find a "Productivity and Security" suite in Google Play, priced at 10 euros per month maybe. With hub, calendar, DTEK and all the goodies, beautiful packed, developed and serviced.
And who will tell BlackBerry is dead?:-)

Horia Stanescu, 2016-07-05

> And BlackBerry has made big changes under the hood to deliver a device that
> cannot be rooted. That is a problem for tinkerers but not for people who want a
> secure device.

Uh, wrong.

If you want a really secure device that comes with Google Play Services preinstalled, you have to root it. Otherwise you have no chance to install e.g. a firewall app like AFWall+ to limit internet access for some kind of apps (e.g. the Google Play Services) or to disable some system apps.

It is not possible to run Android as a "secure device" with Google Play Services active. They are leaking so much privacy information about you, your location, etc.

If BlackBerry wants to ship a really secure device, they need to drop the Google Services from the device. And then they could just have stayed at BB10.

BlackBerry is no longer what I would call a "secure device" since they switched to Android.

Manuel Zecherl, 2016-07-07

Well, how do I say this? BlackBerry has discussed this with their customers before setting out for this journey. If you define "Android with GPS" as unfit, you basically locked yourself out of 80% of the market.

Volker Weber, 2016-07-07

I do not define Android with GPS as unfit. But I define permanently submitting my GPS location to Google without the possibility to disable this as unfit.

And no, disabling GPS in the settings does not disable submitting location data to Google.

Manuel Zecherl, 2016-07-07

Switching your device into airplane mode might be a good measure to avoid location tracking. Not only does it disable GPS, cell tower tracking, Bluetooth snooping, Wifi sniffing, but it will also save a lot of battery. Your safest bet might be to sell your device.

By all means avoid disabling location tracking in your Google account. That would be too sensible.

Volker Weber, 2016-07-07

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