BlackBerry's Android 'Priv' smartphone set for Australian release

By David Flynn, February 3 2016
BlackBerry's Android 'Priv' smartphone set for Australian release

BlackBerry's new Android-powered Priv smartphone finally sees an Australian release this week, with Optus offering the slim slider across a range of business and personal plans.

Packages start at $67/month with 1.5GB of data through to $100/month with 12GB and a whopping 18GB at $130/month – with that top-end plan discounted to $100/month until March 10.

However, the big question isn't the price or monthly data allowance – it's simply a matter of does anybody care any more?

The Priv should be music to the ears of many BlackBerry users, even loyalists who've watched as Android shot from smartphone zero to market-leading hero while the BlackBerry shot at equal speed in the reverse direction.

There's certainly plenty to like about the Priv.

It combines BlackBerry's industrial-strength security ('privacy' is how the Priv got its name), which in many cases is the only reason the smartphone remains widely used in some companies, with the popular Android platform and its vast ocean of apps.

That wonderful Blackberry keyboard – but boasting the same gesture-sensitivity as the BlackBerry Passport, which lets you navigate through web pages and app screens by sliding your finger over the keys – slides out from beneath the 5.4 inch touchscreen.

The screen itself is slightly curved, similar to that seen on the Samsung Galaxy Edge devices, with useful features such as email alerts and a battery meter appearing on the chassis-wrapping windows.

Also on the menu: 32GB of expandable storage (using a microSD card) and a much-needed 18MP boost to the BlackBerry camera, which until now has been stuck in the 'good enough' mud

But for all that, is the Priv another exhibit on BlackBerry's "too little, too late" list?

If you're a BlackBerry user, is there a Priv in your future? Or is your next smartphone unlikely to carry the BlackBerry brand?

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1379

It's really the death of BlackBerry, as we used to know it.

This is an Android phone with, an admittedly good quality, keyboard, and a couple of customisations.

Blackberry needed to do this but I suspect they will make more from selling their secure apps/back end systems than hardware.

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