BlackBerry opens its Priv kimono just a little wider

Slider, slider burning bright, using Android day and night

BlackBerry's has offered more glimpses of its first Android phone, Priv, and the device's specs have also leaked into public gaze.

The Priv is unique in that nobody else is pitching a security-hardened Android at businesses that boasts top-end consumer specs. The device, glimpsed for a few seconds in March, features a slide down touch sensitive QWERTY keyboard.

It's the first BlackBerry ever to use a third-party OS, as all previous RIM/BlackBerry devices since the "Inter@ctive Pager" (aka RIM 900) released in 1996, have used internally developed system software.

Carphone Warehouse is already taking orders for the Priv, with a SIM-free model for £579, or on contract from £49 a month. Specs suggest a 1440 x 2560 display (ppi 540), Snapdragon 808 with 3GB or RAM and 32GB of internal storage, MicroSD card slot up to 2TB, a 3410 mAh battery. Details of a range of official accessories for the device have also leaked.

The official video shows BlackBerry's Android version of the BB10, a deeply integrated unified messaging client, making good on the promise made at MWC in Barcelona to port "the crown jewels" to iOS and Android.

Although loyalists have ruefully noted that it isn't as deeply integrated, or as readily accessible as the unified messaging Hub of BB10, BlackBerry shipped only 800,000 native devices last quarter, and Priv may be BlackBerry's last chance to stay in the game.

The company may take heart from the response to Priv from users who haven't touched a BlackBerry in years.

The Priv is different, and the Android market needs more choice, and more security. BlackBerry has pledged two more maintenance releases of BB10, to its security-conscious business customers, next year.®

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