Blackberry Gets Sexy Again With Release Of New Android Smartphone ‘Priv’

It was not that long ago when Blackberry announced its Curve model with much fanfare, booking such people as Kim Kardashian to promote its latest thumb keyboard smartphone Curve. But that was 2008; it is now 2015 and the competition in the smartphone industry is fierce.

Blackberry has somehow managed to keep a bite of the market share niche with a strong balance sheet (despite low earnings) and a new smartphone that will combine the base security of Blackberry with the Android operating system. BlackBerry CEO John Chen made the announcement.

“I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy.”

As leaks in the development and release indicated, the Android-run device will feature a “slider” mechanism which will have a physical, slide out keyboard, unlike the previous Z10 model which was simply a flat screen. Of course it was Blackberry’s introduction of the keyboard to the mobile phone that made it distinct in the market place. Time Magazine claimed it was the failure to anticipate flat screens and the boom in the consumer — as opposed to purely business — market for smartphones that was Blackberry’s “fatal” mistake.

Since 2008, however, Blackberry has stayed in the game.

Another criticism of Blackberry was that their devices were used during the London Riots, in which Blackberry messenger allowed rioters to send direct messages to each other. However, with applications such as WhatsApp which allow this direct communication using Facebook, singling out one innovative smartphone company could be said to be biased.

The one area that Blackberry has always maintained, however, is its security features, and it is this reputation which has kept a hard core of dedicated business customers, as well as a growing consumer market enticed by the potential of hybrid tech and increased need for security.

PHOTOS: Blackberry Confirms The Rumor Its Working On Its First Android Phone. – http://t.co/yRPu6NXWqa #GistToday pic.twitter.com/gBtr0WReZh

— Gist Today (@GistToday) September 26, 2015

As the initial leaks suggested, the new BlackBerry Android phone will be a so-called “slider,” meaning it will be touchscreen with a slide-out keyboard. With BlackBerry already supporting Android devices though its enterprise-focused BES12 security platform, the company says the new Android smartphone will be tailored for the business and consumer community with security in mind.

“Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform.”

Original reports indicated the new Android phone could launch as soon as November 2015.

[Images by Frazer Harrison, David McNew, Scott Olson / Getty Images / Blackberry.com]