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Opinion 138 Shares 6 comments

Here's why BlackBerry's Priv could crumble

The BlackBerry Priv should be the best Android smartphone of 2015. It really is something special. When you use this device, you know you're holding something that no other manufacturer could get quite so perfect. But do you know what else? I'm sure the Priv is going to fail.

androidpit BlackBerry Priv 7
The BlackBerry Priv could be a game-changer. / © ANDROIDPIT

One phone, two keyboards

The Priv's specs are good, but not top-end. Its design is also quite good, with a rich display and that carbon fiber finish on the back. Then there's that physical keyboard tucked under the display. The BlackBerry curse is that its keyboard (among other features) made it famous. It seems ridiculous that this phone has two keyboards – one virtual and one physical – but would this be a BlackBerry if it didn't have a keyboard you could actually feel? No, it'd just be a regular phone. 

It seems ridiculous that this phone has two keyboards.

This sets the Priv apart from other phones on the market, but is BlackBerry catering to current or former customers, or even just those who are nostalgic for the way smartphones used to be?

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The BlackBerry Priv is a dose of nostalgia. / © ANDROIDPIT

Secure about security 

Security is also a selling point of the Priv. BlackBerry's popularity was also due to the data encryption its phones had. With BlackBerry's experience with mobile security infused into the Priv (short for 'private'), plus that physical keyboard, this phone is certainly unlike anything else running Android. But has BlackBerry created more than just the sum of the Priv's parts? Is this a game-changing phone for Android?

Does the Android ecosystem need a phone like this?

Probably not. But it's a game-changer for BlackBerry. This could be the phone to turn the company's infamous market share woes around. In case you've forgotten, BlackBerry phones accounted for just 0.4 percent of all smartphone sales in Q1 this year. But does the Android ecosystem need a phone like this? Not if no one wants it. With company CEO John Chen revealing recently that he is desperate to sell 5 million phones a year, otherwise they'll be out of the smartphone business, the need to move units is bigger than ever.

androidpit BlackBerry Priv 9
The Android ecosystem just got bigger. / © ANDROIDPIT

A richer Android ecosystem?

In trying to serve everyone, perhaps the Priv will serve no one. Just as many would argue that Microsoft's Surface tablets and Windows 8 unsuccessfully tried to merge the desktop and mobile experiences, the Priv might be trying to target many customers who all want different things.

And just as everyone today wants a piece of Android, BlackBerry has made the decision to join the ecosystem as well. More diversity and choice is a great thing for consumers. But does Android need BlackBerry more than it needs Android? We might have forgotten why BlackBerry lost its immense popularity in the first place – smartphones like those running Android.


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  • Brent 6 months ago Link to comment

    Well I agreed with the author and in the end he was right. The phones are not selling and are unlikely to even hit the breakeven goal of 3 million. It's competitor was the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge but now it's competing against the S7 Edge and it can't win. It's sad, I was a BB user for many years but they didn't keep up. Their day has come and gone. I think if this phone doesn't make a miracle comeback to at least break even, it will be B&B's last smartphone. The boss himself said they must sell 5 million units a year in order to continue in the business but they will be lucky to hit 2.5 million.

  • Yikes! Talk about a totally negative article. FYI BlackBerry is releasing this device in 31 countries. I don't think it is "crumbling." Besides its best in class keyboards the Priv has numerous BB10 features overlayed on Android. Consumer Reports just gave it the same rating as the Nexus 6P. Give BlackBerry a break!

  • 5URV1V0R 10 months ago Link to comment

    That's a pretty harsh judgement. Not saying it wasn't fail, but the reasons listed here are definitely not drivers for failure.

  • tekf33k3n 11 months ago Link to comment

    Please explain how the dual keyboards is a fail. It's the fact that the OG Droid had both a physical and on-screen keyboard that convinced most users to try out Android and propel both the phone and Android to heights that the G1 could never have taken them on its own. The issues have nothing to do with anything mentioned in this article. The PRIV will rest its sales almost exclusively on corporate and government contracts. Those were the last hold outs for Blackberry because of the security. Those will be the potential customers that still want or need the infrastructure. As just a consumer phone, the PRIV would be no more of a hot ticket than any other phone. If BB can land a couple of government contracts for the PRIV, it will sell in the quantities they need to stay afloat. Otherwise, their impending demise will continue at an already rapid pace.

  • I don't know, for some reason I like the slide out physical keyboard.
    Its not right to say a phone will fail, since it actually depends on user preference. If you like it get it if not, just ignore it and not hate it. In the generation of force touch or 3d touch, I am pretty sure some people miss out on a regular physical keyboard and to them this must be a solid offering with an equally awesome specs.

    Purely IMO.

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