BlackBerry's Android-based Priv smartphone launches today

The Blackberry Priv has gone on sale in the UK as of today. The Android-based device comes with a physical keyboard which slides out from underneath the device.

In addition to the Android operating system, it boasts a number of privacy and security features. One such feature is ann app that rates the security of your device on factors such as passcode enablement and what other apps are transferring personal information to third parties.

The Prive promises battery life of 22.5 hours of mixed use nd comes with a 5.4-inch display.

There are also a number of apps specific to the Priv, such as BlackBerry Launcher, Keyboard, Camera, and Services, as well as Password Keeper, DTEK by BlackBerry, and MicrosoftexFAT for BlackBerry.

"Priv will be the solution for smartphone users who are learning daily of the lack of privacy they have on their current devices. Priv will be the answer for former BlackBerry users who miss the physical keyboard but needed apps. And, we're responding to current and prospective BlackBerry users who need it all: choice, innovation, security, privacy and productivity," said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a blog post.

The handset was referred to in BlackBerry's Fiscal 2016 Second Quarter Results report, although it didn't detail a whole lot more apart from its name, which stands for 'privacy and privilege'.

Chen said the name refers to the "heritage and core mission of protecting our customers' privacy", and the Android-based device will feature "the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform."

However, Chen did showcase the BlackBerry Priv to Canadian news website BNN, showing it has a slide out QWERTY keyboard (with capacitive touch) as one would expect from a phone made by BlackBerry.

It also features a curved touchscreen, the camera (although no firm specs given) and the Chrome browser preinstalled. However, it seems Chen may have been a little new to the Priv handset, with the CEO struggling to launch many of the apps in a live demo and stumbling around when providing the specs.

When asked by the presenter if the Priv will be the smartphone that brings back BlackBerry users, Chen replied: "I think everybody loves BlackBerry 10, they really do, but there's not enough apps. So if I could provide all the apps on BlackBerry 10 then it would be a smashing success.

"Unfortunately I can't put the two things together for all the practical, logistical and financial reasons so this is really the best thing we can do and the early indications from the carriers and some of the customers is great. They really love it."

This article was published on 28/09/2015. The latest update was on 06/11/2015.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.