BlackBerry’s first Android phone ships November 6th for $699

BlackBerry logoBlackBerry has officially started taking preorders for the BlackBerry Priv, the company's first Android phone. The device is being sold in the US, UK, and Canada, with pricing at $699, £559, and CA$899, respectively. In the US and Canada, the device starts shipping November 6th, and in the UK the Priv will ship "starting the week of November 9."

The official spec list has been posted as well, and it looks like that $700 is a high-end price for a high-end phone. The Priv has a 5.43-inch 1440p AMOLED display with curved edges on the left and right of the screen. Internally, there's a 1.8GHz Snapdragon 808 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a non-removable (and massive) 3410mAh battery. There's also an 18MP rear camera with OIS and phase detect auto focus, and a 2MP front camera. For a carrier, it looks like you'll need a GSM provider as Blackberry says the device is "Not compatible on Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular."

Blackberry Priv

You're also getting a ton of features that most Android OEMs have cut from their flagships. Most significantly, there's a physical hardware keyboard that slides out of the bottom of the device. The Priv also has a MicroSD slot, a hardware camera button, and a hardware convenience key.

The Priv seems to be a make-or-break device for BlackBerry. The company's CEO has stated that he's willing to exit the hardware market altogether if he feels the profits aren't there. On paper, the Priv seems like an exciting phone that steps away from the cookie-cutter approach most Android OEMs have been taking. The $700 price will make it a tougher sell when $400-$500 will get you a great Android phone, but BlackBerry is certainly offering several unique features. We expect the Priv will also give the company a chance to recapture some of the corporate market share it has lost, where price isn't as much of an issue.

BlackBerry will have some catching up to do on the software front. The Priv is only shipping with Android 5.1 instead of the newer Android 6.0 Marshmallow. We're curious to see what the company's update times are like.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Android, BlackBerry, smartphones

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