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BlackBerry's President of Devices on the Priv, Android, security and keyboards

Already available for pre-order, the BlackBerry Priv begins shipping on November 6th. For BlackBerry, the launch of this Android-powered slider is a BIG deal. For the first time in the company's long history of building smartphones, BlackBerry is shipping a device that doesn't feature a proprietary operating system built in-house. Instead, they have committed to Android, a move that immediately solves the app gap that has been plaguing BlackBerry users for years, by bringing onboard the Google Play app catalog and Google services.

When I interviewed John Chen, BlackBerry's CEO, in November 2013, about possibly going Android, he told me: "It's way too early for me to make an informed statement on that. It would be very, very premature. Whatever is the right thing for the business, you need to preserve the reason why BlackBerry is around. I think just jumping to Android without a thought through of why BlackBerry needs to be around and what makes us relevant and all that ... is inappropriate."

Since then, BlackBerry has clearly thought things through and decided going Android was the next the logical step. With the Priv just days away, we had a chance to sit down with Ron Louks, BlackBerry's President of Devices, the person tasked with bringing the company's first Android handset to market.

On going Android

Kevin Michaluk: Let's just get it out of the way — why Android, and why now?

Ron Louks: We've had an Android strategy for some time now – whether that's supporting Android for Work on our BES12 platform or Samsung/Knox. Priv on Android is the next big step: It's a new paradigm to advance security, privacy and productivity while meeting modern cross-platform user needs and filling our "app gap."

Michaluk: BlackBerry has until now only ever released devices running its own operating system; what were the biggest challenges and hurdles in developing Android for the Priv?

Louks: BlackBerry has a unique heritage in security, privacy and hardware design. While some might say a BlackBerry Android smartphone was a long time coming, we wanted to make sure we had all of the elements in place for a highly differentiated Android device true to those principles.

Michaluk: Many Android handset manufacturers have heavily customized Android to try to differentiate their devices and add new features and services. But those customizations can bog down the device and slow the rollout of software updates. From what we've seen so far of the Priv, it's a sparing amount of customization with a few visual tweaks, a few BlackBerry apps, and a lot of under-the-hood security work. What is BlackBerry's philosophy on customizing Android?

You will not see us experimenting heavily with the native Android theme unless it is in support of security, privacy, or productivity.

Louks: Our approach to Android customization is focused on security, privacy and productivity. You will not see us experimenting heavily with the native Android theme unless it is in support of those things. We wanted to ensure users who would buy a Priv coming from Android would have a familiar experience for them when they picked it up. Being as close as possible to stock and then enhancing the model is what we are driving for, and the enhancements are meant to add additional value or productivity – not get in the way.

On keyboards

Michaluk: Most Android phones we see these days are full touchscreen slabs, but for the Priv you chose to go with a slider. Why did you choose this over a full touchscreen or the more classic BlackBerry design where the physical keyboard is always present?

Louks: We're sure longtime BlackBerry fans as well as new customers will love the unique form factor – which offers best-in-class virtual and physical keyboards. The slider means you get the best of both worlds. Simply open the slide-out-keyboard when you need it, and close it when you don't. Our engineers were able to add the BlackBerry touch-enabled physical keyboard, which can be used like a large trackpad to scroll web pages or flick predictive text onto the screen, without taking anything away from the full touchscreen experience when the device is closed. A real advantage to the physical keyboard is that when the slide is open, our users can view much more content on the screen – typical virtual keyboards take up 30-50% of the usable area.

The slider means you get the best of both worlds. Simply open the slide-out-keyboard when you need it, and close it when you don't.

Michaluk: There's long been a subset of Android users — former BlackBerry, Palm, and Droid users — that want a good keyboard again. Is this phone for them? Or is the Priv about giving existing BlackBerry owners an upgrade path that gives them what they've been lacking — namely apps — while retaining as much of the traditional BlackBerry experience as possible?

Ron Louks, BlackBerry President of Devices, at CES 2015

Louks: The Priv answers both needs. For Android users longing for a physical keyboard, they get top-notch slider styling from BlackBerry with full access to the Google Play store's app ecosystem. For longtime BlackBerry owners, it offers familiar, best-in-class productivity and messaging tools in BlackBerry Hub, all the privacy and security that BlackBerry affords, and that same access to the universe of Google Play apps.

Michaluk: I, like many early smartphone adopters, have a soft spot in my heart for the physical keyboards we had on BlackBerry and Palm devices. But today there's billions more smartphone users, most of whom have only ever typed on glass. Is a physical keyboard today only for legacy users, or will it appeal to those that have never experienced a phone with a keyboard?

Louks: Priv is about productivity, security, privacy and choice. Users new to the joys of a physical keyboard will be blown away when they realize how much more they can accomplish. We believe there is an underserved market out there for this device – and that the keyboard is something that will appeal to many of those consumers that have never used a keyboard on a smartphone.

On updates and bootloaders

Michaluk: When do you expect Android 6.0 Marshmallow for Priv, and can you make any sort of guarantee on the frequency of updates now that others are moving to a monthly cycle for security improvements?

Louks: Launching with Android Lollipop was the most expedited way to get Priv to market. We will be supporting software upgrades for Android M in coming months as Priv rolls out. And we've committed to speedy updates for security improvements.

It cannot be unlocked. We would not bring Android to a BlackBerry device unless we could do it securely.

Michaluk: With a name like Priv, the primary messaging around this phone is about privacy and security. But what about the Android enthusiasts? Can the bootloader be unlocked? Any other consideration for the huge community of Android tinkerers?

Louks: It cannot be unlocked. As John Chen has said several times, we would not bring Android to a BlackBerry device unless we could do it securely. With Priv by BlackBerry, our goal is to ensure that users are safe and secured knowing that the phone cannot be tampered with.

On pricing and excitement

Michaluk: At $699, the Priv is priced at the higher end of the smartphone range, and this is at time when we're seeing good specs and performance in mid-range phones at half the price. What's behind the pricing for the Priv?

Louks: Priv is a flagship handset with top-of-the-line specs including best-in-class battery life, a fantastic camera and BlackBerry's legendary keyboard that sets it apart from every other Android flagship. And it's built on BlackBerry's signature secure hardware platform and privacy principles. All of that adds up to a price point in line with premium phones from other Android OEMs.

Michaluk:. You've been using the Priv for a while. What are your favorite features and things about the phone that you think we'll love when we get our hands on it?

Louks: I'm always on the move – especially when getting ready to launch a new phone like I am this week! I can say without hesitation that the combination of a slide out physical keyboard and a full screen gives users the ultimate productivity tool. I love being able to use the virtual keyboard for a quick reply, but nothing beats the physical keyboard for longer replies, editing and simply ensuring accuracy. I think people will be amazed at the design – there truly isn't anything like it on the market today.

  • I pre-ordered one. Will be neat rocking a BlackBerry again, been a while!
  • This interview made a me a little excited. I thought I would never consider purchasing another BlackBerry, but this one doesn't sound bad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll pass on the Priv cause I want to see how they handle updates and evolve with Android. I've always loved their hardware, and this will serve as a test run heading into next year. I'm up for a new business phone, and can see getting a BlackBerry sometime around May 2016. I'm definitely rooting for them.
  • Hmm, a bit disappointing about the lack of bootloader unlock, but it'll be interesting to see what the guys over at xda make of that.
  • It's supposed to be an ultra secure phone. Why would you expect them to unlock the bootloader?!?!? Use your brain...
  • Because I own the hardware I paid for with my hard-earned money, I'd like to play with it and potentially customize it more than I can without root. I personally haven't needed to unlock a bootloader in a while, but in the past it has been useful to be able to stick CyanogenMod on a mobile whose stock firmware had become quite horrid.
  • +1
  • You own the hardware, not the software.
  • Like buying a game CD and since you own it and paid for it you'd want to be able to do anything you want with it like share it with others?
  • I would like to be able to root my device and I am very much a tinkerer. But really in this case, they use a hardware signing chip on the device to encrypt things and verify the integrity of the base software it's loading. I don't know all the details but I assume it's verifying the kernel and initial boot software, stuff like that. You can't just let people tamper with that stuff because from the perspective of the phone's verification steps, how could it tell the difference between intentional tampering and malicious tampering? It really can't. And even if there was a way, you just can't assume that risk. We see common place closed and open source software getting exploited all the time. Just count the number of SSL and similar vulnerabilities that came out in the past year alone. People were using certain SSL versions across the world of the internet for years, completely documented and open source code available for all the experts in the field to vet and scrutinize, yet still they miss these vulnerabilities, until some hacker finds a way and suddenly it's a big and serious problem across the globe. You have to lock it down. It has to be locked down and you have to keep testing and innovating.
  • Yes, it verifies the boot ROM, the OS and the other layers as part of their Root of Trust. At least on Blackberry, we can load any OS for our model whether it was released by our carrier or not (or any carrier for leaked OS's), but they all have to be signed by Blackberry's private key. Of course, I'm assuming that they are extremely careful with that key.
  • I don't get why bootloader fans are annoyed over this. An unlocked bootloader is essentially a feature; certainly not a right for consumers -- and especially not for a phone advertised as super-secure. Try not to be too sour over something only 0.40% of smartphone owners care about and wrap your mind around this fact: * Your legal ownership over the hardware doesn't supplant anything else. Ownership is limited to simply having the actual device in your hand with no contractual ties to third parties.*
  • That's not the point. Your preference for a rootable phone is totally valid. But your preference means, simply, that this is NOT the phone for you. If you want a phone that can be rooted then you don't want a 'secured' phone. An unlocked bootloader and "best security" are oxymorons. Remember, the phone can't differentiate between legitimate tinkering by the owner and malicious tinkering by a hacker. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then this isn't the phone for you.
    This isn't a tinkerers phone.
    No problem. You are not the customer they are aiming at.
  • Yep, and I suspect this aim is going to be why they fold the hardware division up next year. Pity, because the hardware itself is very nice by all accounts. I'm still buying one, because as a sysadmin, a keyboarded mobile with modern specs would allow me to better do my job, even if I can't tweak it to exactly how I want it, but most of the mobile brands out there that have been successful in Android got there by the tinkers being able to play and advocate the awesome things they were playing with to others. Blackberry ignoring that is unlikely to succeed this late in the market. And I really hate that, because they're the only game in town for a keyboarded mobile now.
  • Then this isn't the phone for you and you know it before you buy it.
  • "security" to me includes having control over the device; the locked (and unlockable) bootloader is a big turn-off for me. I would have had much more respect for BlackBerry if they had given us a way of cleaning unlocking the device and getting root.
  • If you can unlock, so can a hacker.
    It's your choice.... :-D
  • Not necessarily. Let me add my own keys to the firmware and sign whatever I want to add to the device.
  • You make it sound so easy.
  • thats why they are blackberry. make your own YertieBerry
  • The point is, I can't.
  • This is the device for you, if your notion of security os something that can be open easily.
  • Being able to unlock the phone doesn't mean it is easy to break into. I can overwrite the operating system on my desktop machine easily, but that says nothing about how secure the software is.
  • What an odd way to define security... Posted via Android Central App
  • Security to me means been able to tamper my car's airbags and brakes and play with them... Posted via Android Central App
  • More like: the ability to inspect them, repair them, upgrade them, add other security features, rather than just taking the manufacturer's word that I'll be safe in the event of a crash... Security always has to involve the user if it is really secure. If the user is ignorant, the security is really only an illusion. I can have the most secure banking computer system in the world, but if I give up my password to some random scammer who calls me, the security is worthless.
  • Your example does not apply at all. If you give your phones password to anyone then they can access it no matter how secure it is. If you root your phone then all the security measures in place are gone and it doesn't matter of you give your password away or not, your are done with security. Posted via Android Central App
  • Then why buy a BB? You know they do this stuff.
  • Why respond like a jerk?
  • You can't be serious Posted via the Android Central App
  • Can't say that it's surprising. Wouldn't make sense for a company known for security make a phone that can be easily accessible. If anyone is able to crack the phone with ease then we would have to take a strong look at BlackBerry as a company. Especially when they claim to be mobile security experts.
  • You own the hardware but you don't own the software that is running on it. And having an unlocked bootloader means tampering with the software which you don't own. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's fine. I don't really need any of the BB software anyway, I just want a pretty stock mobile with Google services and a physical keyboard. That's all I want. I haven't been able to sysadmin properly on my mobile since my HTC doubleshot 4 years ago :(
  • This device is defo not for you. And "that's fine"... :-)
  • Eh, the stockness of it with the keyboard overrode my desire for unlock. I've had it on preorder since Friday. There is no other choice for my needs that I'm presently aware of. I just hope Blackberry keeps up their end of the deal
  • this is supposed to be a fairly stock level device as indicated, has some features that you can or can not use thats entirely up to you. but the fact that they have said stock means no real bloatware so im happy about that.
  • The software is just a set of instructions telling my hardware what to do. I have a moral right to tamper with the software if I desire. ... in my opinion. :-)
  • I'm sure hackers feel that they have the right to tamper with the software and your personal information and money... in their opinion as well... ;o)
  • So?
  • Moral right? What makes it moral to tamper with the software? Just because you bought the phone? Nah...
  • LOL It'll get rooted just like the Verizon Note 4 did... I expected this to be locked down even more so than the Note 4. So I wouldn't hope so much or at all... BB can't tout security and then have said security easily defeated or defeated at all... That said, I do miss the days of when I was able to simply remove/add JAR/JAD/COD/ETC files to "customize" my rom and remove stuff I didn't want....
  • So will it be or will it not be tampered? Your post is not clear on that. Posted via Android Central App
  • Let's hope it won't, there need to be some secure devices out there. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Note doesn't have the cryptolocker at the base level.
  • Agree with the top of the line specs etc way of thinking but I think they should should have priced it to entice people back to blackberry. It is not a household name in android. Would I pay $500 to pick it up and try it out? Very likely, Would I pay $700 after just getting a 64GB Nexus 6P with Nexus protect for $677.88? Most likely not. But then again I hear some make payments on their phones these days. Looking forward to hearing the reviews though! Had a blackberry 8300 "Curve" as my first smartphone then the Bold 9000 and then 9700 before it all when downhill. Good luck to Blackberry!
  • It's a flagship all touch. On top of that it has a concealable capacitive qwerty keyboard. Can't expect the keyboard to be provided for free.
  • Full touch slab + BlackBerry's unique virtual keyboard + physical touch enabled keyboard + 32GB internal storage + micro SD up to 2TB + 18mp German camera + 5.4" qhd screen 540ppi + 3000+ mAh battery + 808 processor + BlackBerry's productivity suite + top of the line security built in.... you go find a phone at $500 that offers that... Posted via Android Central App
  • Amen. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Excellent interview Kevin. Great, to the point questions about pricing, Android modification (and differentiation) and software updates.
  • Thanks!!
  • Well done KM ! :)
    Love the confirmation of non rootable, (sorry I know many here on AC will disagree).
  • Security is important. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Sure thing. But fingerprint isn't secure alone. More, if stored remotely it's an non modifiable and lifetime lasting personal ID. Just imagine what will happen if stolen (already 5 millions lost by US authorities with a 'simple' hack). But this worse a full forum topic, we're OT !
  • I think it's great, and I root all my phones.
  • here they come
  • Where is the fingerprint on that Priv device? In the backside I will not use it at all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No fingerprint scanner for G_D sake !
  • Now Now Mods can't be doing that! ;)
  • BBlasphemest thou? :-D I don't BBelieve we need a fingerprint scanner on the Berry at this stage. Picture password rocks!
  • I think I got ya, SF... ;-D
  • I agree prem. Pick password is very nice. Posted via Android Central App
  • I love the picture passage on my BlackBerry 10. Do you know if it will be available on the Priv ?
  • Yes! There was a picture around, I think it was on BlackBerry central, showing the picture password feature. Yep it was BlackBerry central. Can I attach pictures on the ac app? Posted via Android Central App
  • No, but you can see it in action here (thanks Usman !) @4:16 mark :
  • Did I mooohhh-ed again ? I mean I don't want it. Eventually, let people choose to install third party gadget (and assume the risks) but don't include it as a BlackBerry feature.
  • Google and Apple already have most info about you, why would you want them to have your fingerprint identification as well?
  • For anyone talking about fingerprint scanners, you clearly don't get security. Finger print scanners have been long deemed insecure and typically disabled on devices like laptops when provided to employees at enterprise grade companies that take security seriously. The simple fact that someone can unlock your device while you're unconscious should make this crystal clear to you.
  • The phone really looks great. Posted via the MATERIAL AC App
  • Meh. I already ordered my Nexus 6p. More value for the same money (read: Marshmallow etc). Posted via Android Central App
  • You didn't read the article then?
  • ^ Try and bend it. Then come back and we'll talk about value... :-) No offense, enjoy your Nex6!
  • Good to see ya over here too Prem :)
    Most of these guys just don't get it.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am sure the BB priv will be easy to bend and brake especially when you slide it up to use that keyboard lol Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well... it might be but then that good be done intentionally. Not like if you have it in your pocket and it bends... specially not this phone since you can't have it in your pocket with the pkb sliding out. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yeah, it;s not like you'll stick in your pocket with the keyboard extended!!
  • Sounds like buyer's remorse.
  • I'm a Nexus user for my primary phone, but I'm going to be eying the successor to this closely - if this phone takes off and does well enough and has good support and updates, I'll bite next year for my work phone. Would really like to try out a Blackberry keyboard, closest I ever got was my original Droid 2 and 3, which as I understand it aren't even a real comparison. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There isn't an android vkb that's even close to BlackBerry. I say that as a former android user that switched to bb10. I don't have an opinion on the pkb because I've never used one. I'm curious though. Posted via Android Central App
  • BlackBerry really does, hands down, have the best keyboards in the industry.
  • You got it! Not even close! You'll be blown away with the BlackBerry experience ;) Posted via Android Central App
  • Happy to finally be able to join you guys over at Android Central (: Great interview Kevin. I really hope they do as they say and keep the updates coming regularly. I have been reading /r/android a LOT lately, and it seems that no manufacturer has really been good with constant updates (of-course aside from the Nexus line), so BlackBerry could really stand out if they simply take updates seriously. I mean they did on BB10 as their first ever BB10 device (the Z10) is still getting the latest updates.. But we'll see with the PRIV. I have faith, but I know many Android users will have to see it before they believe it. It's gonna be a tough road for BlackBerry going forward, but I think I am more excited than ever for the future of BlackBerry. I for one am really excited to jump into the Android ecosystem on my phone seeing as I am already relying on everything Google for work and personal. It'll hopefully be one of those exciting moments when Android Central and CrackBerry users can finally get along well. And we can band up to take on iMore now (; - Hah I kid.. Not really.. But maybe?
  • Funny to see you posting here Alex. :)
    We're bound to see some community cross over and camaraderie with this new device :)
    Every time I pick up an android device though, I just end up missing bb10. Music and videos playing in minimized apps or when the device is locked is one of the features I'll miss the most. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Haha yeah, exactly! And it's definitely quite interesting, right? That functionality is indeed possible for example in the YouTube app on Android... given that you have a YouTube Red (Google Play Music) subscription. But again, it requires a subscription to get that functionality whereas that works right out of the box on BB10 in every app (not just YouTube). So yeah, there's definitely a few quirks we are going to have to get used to, but I for one am really looking forward to finally not having to deal with workarounds for Apps and dealing with sub-par at times performance in the Android Runtime.
  • Is this a BlackBerry alumni reunion? Reading all the comments I see many legacy bbos users.
  • "Android Central and CrackBerry users finally get along"... I'm waiting. Good interview. Looking forward to testing out this device. How many apps will I have to download from the Play Store in order to get the same functionality that I get from the BlackBerry Passport?
  • 2 days and you will be mine. Posted via Android Central App
  • Make sure to hit the forums to let us know all about it.
  • While I'm really interested in the Priv as it definitely stands out from countless phones available today just by the presence of a physical keyboard alone, I am wondering if Blackberry held an actual launch event for this phone and did I miss it? If this launch was that important why not formally introduce it and the features it has? And this phone is hampered -at least for now-by the same issues I have with the latest Windows Phone flagships: carrier support. I haven't seen too many unboxing videos IR highlights on the camera or anything anywhere on YouTube and to me there should be less questions close to a phone release than more. I just hope they create a serious marketing push and get the phone everywhere as I'm rooting for them. The phone is very sleek and beautiful. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No big consumer launch event - they've just been doing briefings around the globe from what I gather. Am guessing we'll see some marketing ramp up as the device hits.
  • Hi Kevin, is it true what I hear that BBM will not have video calling on the Priv?
  • No BBM video. I'm pretty sure that feature died with BlackBerry 10. Shame really. It was very decent. Another feature that will be missed is Blend and also screen sharing (many did not use this, but some like myself did).
  • No launch coming, too expensive... they want to save that money for other marketing. Should be getting reviews pretty soon (Friday) There are a few UnBoxing Video's out there already (CarPhone Warehouse and TechRadar)
  • I'm curious about updates beyond M. Their legacy devices receive updates for a very long time, but that was with their OS.
    Otherwise, I like what I see. Not $700 like, but we will see. Posted from my Droid Turbo
  • It's a question many have asked....
    It will really depend on sales...
  • Wasn't there an agreement between Google and manufacturers to keep updating devices for at least two years? I would imagine BlackBerry would comply to that at the very least.
  • No such agreement exists in the Android space. That's why so many devices never see a single update in their life.
  • That's a great point. Blackberry has almost been the outlier in the sense that they support legacy devices with software updates well well past their grave for most people. Kind of cool of them if you ask me.
  • I had my Z10 since August 2013 and just received a software update from my carrier two weeks ago so yeah, it's pretty nice to keep seeing updates. We know for sure there are two more coming next year, hopefully I'll be on a new BlackBerry phone by then. Posted via Android Central App
  • Im going to try and wait out for a white Priv on tmobile. Im happy with how this phone has turned out. Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Same here. I just hope it's an all-white device, not the frequent BlackBerry 'stormtrooper' type coloring with black bezels and or a black backplate. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is the only phone that would make me turn my note 5 in. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am a little tempted as well. Dang, the Note 5 is so nice too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am currently rocking a 64gb White Note 5. Honestly screen is the best on any phone right now. The pen is actually awesome and useful. Battery life is not so great. Decent but not great. Fast charger somewhat makes up for it. Design is top notch maybe only S6 Edge+ beats it. Without a case make sure you have stickum in your hands. Cant wait for Priv review. Keyboard keyboard keyboard will be key for me. Make It So
  • Yes yes yes. Make It So
  • can not wait for it to come out!
  • Great interview. It's nice to wonder over to this site by the way. As a BlackBerry supporter, I don't tend to venture much. :) Posted via the Android Central App
  • can't wait got mine on pre-order will be nice to have the best of both worlds proper apps and BlackBerry security and keyboard.
  • BB Priv looks good. Would really love a white or grey one, still on the fence. Just waiting for the reviews. Make It So
  • Good job fitting that slide out keyboard and a big battery in a rather slim design. Even thinner than a lot of other recent flagship phones of the same screen size with a smaller battery as well.
  • Marvellous engineering. It's premium, so don't de-class it by selling it cheap... :-)
  • This was BlackBerry's engineering team last masterpiece before they were shown the door. They are the ones that made this possible on a device that's ony 2.6mm thicker than the iPhone 6 Posted via Android Central App
  • Looks really really good! Finally a refreshing take on smartphone design, sure has been boring lately. Pity NZ will never officially see it....
  • Extremely disappointed that it doesn't work on Sprint. You would think it would be made available for all Carriers like other flagship phones. Even the nexus phones work on all Carriers. Terrible. And exclusive to AT&T ? Good luck with that. Ask Amazon how that worked out! Posted via Android Central App
  • He said Sprint lol
  • It's not exclusive to att. They just got it first. I'm mostly sure the other carriers here in the US will have it. Rumor is vzw will have it around February. Posted via Android Central App
  • not entirely surprised, sprint shafted them with alot of their devices. Sprint refused to stock the Z10 and only got the Q10 with promises that it will stock the Z30 they refused on that device as well and later stopped stocking their devices. From the leaks Evan bass had said all carriers will get it will be interesting to see if or when they do.
  • Nice... Can't wait! Posted via the Android Central App on my LG G4
  • Although I will never buy a BB I do welcome them in increasing the Android market share...not by much.
  • No questions on the disgusting name change? Posted via the Android Central App
  • OMG! It's a CrackBerry Kevin article, well kind of. Great read and interview Kevin. Can't wait till I have the Priv in my hands, excited to learn about the Android OS, I sure Hope Kevin, Phil and the Android Central team come through with a review and probably a 1st time Android User article. I've known no OS other than BlackBerry. Posted via the Android Central App using the Amazing BlackBerry Classic
  • Ditto on "I've known no other OS". Let the adventure begin.
  • The Priv looks like it will be a winner. I hope it comes to TMO. Posted via Android Central App
  • I'm actually considering trading in my Note5 for the Priv. I used to be a hardcore Blackberry fan. I had the Storm and Tour and I absolutely loved the Tour. I miss it. I may do this, depending on finances. Posted via the Android Central App on the Note5.
  • that´s right!
  • Yada, yada yada.
  • "I love being able to use the virtual keyboard for a quick reply, but nothing beats the physical keyboard for longer replies ..." Unlike most previous Android sliders whose keyboards were installed in landscape orientation, and therefore a bit cumbersome to access for some "quick" communication, I feel that the Priv's portrait keyboard dispenses of the need for the virtual keyboard entirely.
  • Until I can do the emoji on the physical keyboard, there will always be a use for the virtual one.
  • why cant you do it on the physical keyboard? You can do them on existing blackberry devices with the keyboard.
  • I think she means having that emoji tab where they're already made. BlackBerry's traditional audience doesn't care so much about emoji ;-)
  • I'm sure that if you hit tab or something it'll have to bring up the emoji. They couldn't have been so careless as to leave that functionality out. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is that why BB sells sticker packs?
  • I've owned two blackberry sliders in the past so I have to agree. In fact the typical use case for me with those ones, is if I'm in a chat, I'll typically do a quick reply on the virtual keyboard... until I realize the conversation I'm in is going to be long winded, so I'll snap out the keyboard on the fly and continue typing out the rest. It's cool that you can switch between them. Also like he said in the interview, the fact that the virtual keyboard isn't there to take up most of the screen, you get a full view of your apps. This is kind of a big one for me, because I get very annoyed at UI's in some apps or websites especially, that just don't play well with being squished, they werent written well by the developers.
  • Blackberry should have marketed this phone to the teenagers/power users since it has a slide out keyboard. I mean I could see this phone selling like hotcakes due to the slide out keyboard if they had a lower price point and quit with this privacy BS. I will say they got battery life right, I think almost everyone minus Apple Fanboys agrees that battery life>thin phone. I know I personally have a few wants from my next phone and not a single phone on market today offers them. i might be a bit outdated but I would love: Android Phone, Height of an iPhone 5s (preferably higher screen to body ratio allowing a 4.5 inch screen), slide out keyboard, a modern processor, biggest battery that can fit, and 2gb of ram at least. If I could either get the height or the keyboard I would be happy. I don't understand why slide out keyboard phones were dropped (mostly), and the phones got to 5 inches plus. I have met many people who like slide out keyboards. I've seen about 5 Iphone 6 pluses to every 25 regular Iphone 6 devices. The other thing I don't get is the thinness idea. I have never had a phone too bulky to fit in my pocket, and have never heard of anyone with that issue. I really think some of these designers need to go to a college/high school ASAP and see where these devices are stored. For women, I can't recall seeing a cell phone placed inside a front pocket. And trust me, you see them all the time since they are hanging out of back pockets with more of the phone outside than in the pocket. If they aren't in the back pocket, you will see a 5-6 inch raised section under their shirt at their side. As for guys, it is a bit better but you still see them hanging out the front pockets, or more likely than not in a back pocket. The Blackberry is so close to offering enough of what I want. The only problem? It's not an android phone if It can't be unlocked.
  • Well, it won't be quite as small as you want, but the HTC One A9 should tick most of the boxes except keyboard and battery.
  • I did not mean to hit that reported button admins!! Was trying to leave a comment in agreement on the phone in front pockets lol I always see my wife's BB passport popping out of her back jeans pocket, looking like if tapped it lightly from below it might launch up!
  • The OS is Android. How is it not an Android? It wouldn't be a BB is the privacy BS, you call it, was not there and that would jeopardize their rep.
  • I hope this Android Central app isn't an indication of how all android apps work when I get my Priv (which I'm getting cus I'm die hard Blckbry regardless of OS) but I can't just swipe right to close the comments and swipe right to exit the article, or swipe up to minimize the app. God I'm gonna miss BB10 if those things are going bye bye. Posted via Android Central App
  • Ya really, tried a Samsung for a week and went right back to bb quick. How am I supposed to text and use my phone while I'm driving if it doesn't have the mindless navigational ease of the bb10. Ordered 2 privs just to keep bb in biz, hopefully their next phone will have gestures...
  • You shouldn't text while driving anyway.
  • Android doesn't work like BB10. Never has.
  • Exactly. Or Android would be called BB.
  • This is going to be a great device, get mine next week. Hines should of done this when he got in as CEO in 2011 but he killed the company with BB10. At least Chen was smart enough to do it and understand its all about the ecosystem, lets hope they make the most of this I want to see BB make a come back.
  • go BlackBerry go! happy to see that there is at least one time that bb and android crossed forum and not bickering on the os.. priv is really unique...
  • First time over on this side ( AC) having only ever owned a BlackBerry as my mobile device of choice. Security is important to me which is why I have always owned a BB I still absolutely love my Z30 and recently purchased a passport as an upgrade from a Q10 for my wife. Being Canadians and always wanting to support Canadian businesses when possible is also a consideration for the two of us. I myself am overdue and eligible for an upgrade and find myself really struggling here as the current hardware choices all around just really aren't wowing me. I too am leaning towards watching what takes place both with the Priv in terms of updates and just how secure it is,as well as seeing if BlackBerry keeps their commitment to update/ maintain the BB10 OS devices. This would have been a no brainer had they given us the choice of an Android or BB10 OS or both! I have and still do love and support BlackBerry and sincerely wish them the best of luck with the Priv! May have to see how this plays out, thanks for the ear AC!!! May be back sooner than later!
  • For me the simple question is can I uninstall Google and all its bloat. I do not use any of its ecosystem so it is useless to me.
  • No, you can not. Google's "bloat" is what comes with Android as an operating system. You're not forced to use the apps though. But without Google Play Services your phone isn't going to do much.
  • You can disable most of them except some key apps and service like the play store Posted via the Android Central App
  • You might be better off with the Passport
  • As long as they don't take too long to get app developers to integrate into the android version of the hub... The hub in BB10 is an awesome feature that needs to be fully ported over to the priv
  • So who gets the scoop on reviewing the Priv - AndroidCentral or Crackberry? Fight.....
  • There will definitely be an Android Central review of the Priv. It runs Android. As for'll have to ask them :P
  • Any clues on who's doing the review?
  • I'm just curious to hear everyone's opinions, especially Jerry's. He seems to go against the grain and definitely cares about security.
  • I believe there will be a review on both sites
  • I started out on blackberry back in 2007, grew up on physical keyboards (PKB). Owning 4 BB phones and Playbook. I left while they were waiting for BB10 operating system to try out a Nexus4 kitkat to lollipop, still have two of them. I went back to blackberry about 1 year and three months ago to try out the Z30 and then fell in love with the Passport, as ugly as it looked it feels so great to view and use. The entire time on full screen i hated not having a PKB. But the writings on and been on the wall that blackberry has to try going to Android to be able to continue to sell their great phones. I have never had a poorly built BB phone. Which is one thing I always admired about BB. As I said, I simply adore my Passport phone on BB10 operating system but the Priv is going to be my next phone. That PKB is very similar to the Passports, the keys light up in the dark, you can scroll by sliding up or down on the keyboard, I don't know if the Priv PKB has pinch to zoom like the Passport, or if the swipe up for correct word feature is there. There hasn't been a great amount of details yet on the Priv. But one thing you can be assured of is that the phone will rock solid, the security will be rock solid, you can have work side and a personal side for the BYOD folks, Android will be more pure than many other phone makers and you should love BB HUB addition to it where most all your various messages, texts and email from multiple accounts gather for replying, creating, sending, etc.
  • I've not understood how the Passport gets such rave reviews on its keyboard. The spacebar is in the middle of the bottom row! I had an old Samsung Windows Mobile that did that for a few months, ended up running back to my Treo because it drove me so batty.
  • Blackberry have always made solid nice looking phones. Now that they have chosen an Android route I wish they had also made a phone without the physical keyboard. Knowing their reputation for design and security, amongst a few other things, I think the consumer would have bought one of the two models knowing they were getting a very good phone. If the Priv fails I would like to see them have one more go at the phone market with a great design and good software. They might be surprised!
  • I really want to see how they handle updates before getting one. I really like what I'm seeing. However I'd prefer to buy one directly from them. Tried of the carrier bs. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nice interview Kevin. Will you be doing the unboxing video? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Keyboards have a high user base. You cant discount all of the feature phones or other not as well known phones that have a keyboard. Just because we are using $600 phones and know of only a couple of players doesnt mean we are the universe.
  • Shut up blackberry and take my wallet Posted via the Android Central App
  • At $799 that's exactly what they are doing ha ha!
  • The bootloader cannot be unlocked until it IS unlocked. Cannot be unlocked...ha!