BlackBerry has finally launched its first-ever Android powered smartphone called BlackBerry Priv. It is now available for purchase from AT&T retail stores as well as online in the US. It is also on sale in Canada through a number of carrier networks such as Bell, Rogers, SaskTel, Telus and Wind. Apart from these, users can buy the handset from the ShopBlackBerry site.
The company is yet to announce the UK release although it has already started taking pre-orders via ShopBlackBerry at £559. Carphone Warehouse has already opened pre-orders for the SIM-free model at £559.99 as well as via pay monthly deals on contracts with a few carriers starting at £33. The retailer says the phone will hit its stores on 13 November, whereas BlackBerry is quoting 23 November as shipment date.
John Chen, executive chairman and CEO, BlackBerry, said: "I have said many times that BlackBerry would not release an Android smartphone unless we could make it private and secure. I'm pleased to say that day has arrived. With BlackBerry's patented keyboard and the full complement of applications found in Google Play, this device expands our cross-platform strategy and gives end users the best in security, privacy and productivity, with no compromises on application."
The slider smartphone combining BlackBerry's productivity, security and privacy features offers users freedom to choose between a virtual keyboard as well as physical keyboard. Like any other Android product, Priv users can also take advantage of the wide range of apps available in the Google Play Store.
BlackBerry's new handset sports a dual-curve display with resolution at 2560 x 1440 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 540 pixels per inch. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 808 chip featuring a hexa-core 64-bit processor drives power for the smartphone coupled with 3GB RAM. An Adreno 418 graphics unit fixed at 600MHz is inside the phone.
There is an 18 megapixel camera at the back and a two megapixel front-facing camera. As rumoured earlier, the primary camera is capable of recording 4k video at 30 frames per second, and also packs a bunch of camera technologies such as optical image stabilisation, phase detection auto autofocus, fast focus lock, HDR and more.
The phone supports wireless charging (US only) and is compatible with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0, which does not come in the box but you need to buy it separately if you want. A 3410mAh battery is the source of power for the phone, which can run up to slightly more than 22 hours delivering mixed battery life depending on usage.
You will get 32GB of internal storage, but the phone supports microSD card for storage expansion up to 2TB. It features Bluetooth 4.1, NFC and a slew of sensors including accelerometer, activity monitor and ambient light.