BlackBerry: Bring on the PRIV!

blackberry PRIV DualIf you’ve read anything by Seth Godin, you might agree that humans are all about tribes and camps of cell phone users are no different. Both iPhone and Android based devices have their armies of fanboys and girls and even BlackBerry has a following that is staunch and loyal. BlackBerry’s fans have stuck with them even through the hard times and no doubt those hard times are still here. But with the release of the PRIV, it sounds like people (from other tribes even!) are genuinely excited about this new phone.

The way I see it, BlackBerry is using the age old tactic of bringing peace to warring factions by marrying two tribes together: Android’s software with BlackBerry’s hardware, which in my opinion, has always been top notch. Admittedly, the initial price tag is a little hard to swallow ($899…gulp!) but you can probably get the PRIV for cheaper if you combine it with a plan from your carrier.

At first glance, this is a beautiful looking phone. Everything from the curved screen to the sliding keyboard makes this phone look solid and nothing this a flimsy phone that’ll bend or crack in your back pocket (looking at you, Nexus 5). Software-wise, a lot of people are talking about DTEK which is basically the heart the PRIV’s privacy and security features. DTEK gives you a lot of granularity in controlling what your apps are allowed to access. This technology sounds very similar to Greenify which I’ve used extensively on my rooted Android devices. DTEK is available on Google Play but you’ll probably need a PRIV if you want to install it.

I’m very excited about the PRIV, and for BlackBerry’s next chapter. We’ve seen some bold leadership under John Chen and it’s not hard to imagine more Android-based phones coming out of Waterloo in the near future.

BlackBerry PRIV features:

Memory: 3GB
Storage: 32GB (expandable to 2 TB micro SD)
Keyboard: Sliding keyboard with SmartSlide technology
CPU: Dual-core 1.82 GHz / Quad-core 1.44 GHz
Display: 5.4″ AMOLED dual-curved screen
Battery: 3410 mAh Li-Po
Rear camera: 18 megapixels, 2160p video capture
Front camera: 2 mega pixels, 720p video Schneider-Kreuznach ® certified camera

Update: I spotted a demo of the BlackBerry PRIV at one of the Best Buy mobile stores this week. The sales guy admitted to me that he wasn’t too hot on this phone but I personally loved the way the PRIV felt in my hands.This phone feels the way you’d expect a BlackBerry device to feel, which is to say that the phone has ‘weight’ and does not feel like a toy. Classic BlackBerry hardware. I immediately tried the slider (the main feature) and really love the way it moves with a satisfying slide-and-click feel. Next step: finding out when my carrier will start offering it.

Update 2: Is Blackberry still alive? In the same vein, we may ask the same question of this very website.

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