The Priv is set to be released this month in Canada. BB’s own website currently has it up for preorder for $899, with an expected shipping date of November 9. It should be hitting the shelves of carriers shortly thereafter.
That price is the same as the starting cost of the 16GB iPhone 6s. This isn’t too bad, considering the top-end specs the Priv is boasting, as well as its 32GB of storage; doubling the 6s.
So far TELUS, WIND and SaskTel have the Priv either live for preorder, or reservation. Rogers will reportedly also be stocking the Priv, although official confirmation is yet to be announced.
Where can I get it now?
Right now, you can preorder the Priv unlocked from the BlackBerry store, which will start shipping on November 9. If you do plan to follow this route, it’s likely the phone will be sold unlocked, leaving you open to go for a BYO Phone plan with a cheaper monthly rate and no lock-in contract.
From Telus, you can check the phone out on the carrierwebsite, but there’s not option to preorder or even register interest just yet.That should change on November 6.
SaskTel simply says "Coming soon", which could mean anything, but this can at least been seen as confirmation that the carrier will be offering it.
WIND tweeted its intention to bring the Priv to its customers “next month”. Seeing as that tweet was sent out on October 30, we can only assume it’s coming some time in November. In response to public queries, the carrier is being tight-lipped about pricing and release date specifics.
About the Priv
The Priv is the first fully-Android device from BlackBerry. Previous BB devices have supported side-loading of Android applications, but have not been designed to use it as the primary operating system (OS).
BB isn’t entering the Android market with a whimper; this phone packs a hell of a punch. A powerful Snapdragon 808 processor puts it up with some of the most powerful phones around, as does its 3GB of RAM.
32GB of storage shows an understanding of the modern smartphone market beyond what we’ve seen from Apple’s smaller 16GB starting point for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. This sentiment is reiterated by the 5.4 inch quad-HD display that offers 504 pixels per inch (ppi) that is comparable to other Android flagships, and sits favorably alongside the 326ppi of the iPhone 6s, and 401ppi of the 6s Plus.
Being a BlackBerry, the Priv obviously comes sporting a hardware keyboard. This might seem a little old-fashioned to modern smartphone fans, but BB could hardly change gears so fast as to completely leave its surviving fans out in the cold. BlackBerry keyboards are still respected by even some of the more hardcore Android tech pundits, and its implementation as a slider means no loss of screen real-estate.
Also on the list of very BlackBerry-esque traits, the Priv has a huge focus on privacy – hence the name. It’s no secret that Android is far from secure when it comes to OSes, but the Priv seeks to fix that with a mixture of third party and native software.
Finally, we have an 18MP rear camera, 2MP front, and large 3410mAh battery (the Samsung Galaxy S6 has just 2550mAh).
Overall the Priv looks pretty great on paper. Real-world implementation is another thing entirely, and the recent decline in brand recognition and reputation is sure to be a huge hurdle for the struggling company. If this is to be BlackBerry’s last play, at least it looks like the iconic company will be going down swinging.