BlackBerry’s fall from grace could soon be coming to an end, as the Canadian tech company has released a new device that critics have labelled the best model of its kind “in a decade”.
Though BlackBerry phones were once the preferred device of white collar workers around the world, recent years have seen them slip out of fashion, with Apple’s intuitive touch-screen keyboard a major orchestrator in the downfall. It seems this trend may soon be over, though, thanks to a new handset called the BlackBerry Priv.
Having partnered with Google, BlackBerry has included the Android operating system on its new device, solving the problem previous devices had with a lack of apps. This, when coupled with the physical keyboard and strong security, is what has prompted reviewers to shower the Priv in plaudits.
Among those proffering favourable reviews was Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff, who claimed it was “without question… one of the best devices BlackBerry has ever built.”
But is the Priv too little too late?
Not all the feedback was quite so complimentary, though. Despite acknowledging that the Priv was a very good smartphone, some have wondered whether the Google partnership is too little too late. One such critic was research director for European mobile devices at IDC, Francisco Jeronimo. He argued that it was “already too late” for BlackBerry and that rolling out Android across its devices would only have made for an interesting proposition “if it was released two years ago.”
Although the Priv comes with Android 5.1.1, it doesn’t signal the end of the line for BlackBerry’s own OS. Instead, this is meant to be more of a trial, with the Priv’s success (or indeed failure) dictating where the Canadian firm goes next. By using a third party OS in future, BlackBerry could save research and development costs – which could then be pumped back into handset design. Even if the company resorts back to BlackBerry OS, its dalliance with Google will have certainly offered some valuable insights.
Speaking about the new device, BlackBerry executive chairman and CEO, John Chen, told cnbc.com: “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 BlackBerry users who miss the physical keyboard but needed apps. We’re responding to current – and prospective – BlackBerry users who need it all: choice, innovation, security, privacy and productivity.”
The Priv went on sale on Friday November 13 at a cost of £559.99.