The BlackBerry PRIV Is EASILY 2015's Most Interesting Release
BlackBerry and Android coming together in a phone with awesome specs and a great design? What’s NOT to like
I’ve been a fan of BlackBerry for years. I loved the ethos and idea behind BlackBerry 10 and used the BlackBerry Q10 for a good six months. I was also very impressed by the BlackBerry Passport, as you can see in our BlackBerry Passport Review, and the updates BlackBerry made to its BB10 platform in 2014/15 -- most notably the AWESOME BlackBerry Blend and full support for Android applications.
I remember chatting to ex-CEO Thorsten He
ins at the bar after BlackBerry World 2012. He’d done a major keynote speech earlier that day, one that featured Lewis Hamilton, of all people, and was clearly on something of a high. He’d nailed the concept of how a mobile platform should work, delivered us BB10, and the future had began to look rather less dreary for the company. Even the new handsets were looking great.
But there was always one hole in BB10 -- applications and a viable alternative to Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Granted, this isn’t all the important to enterprise users, BlackBerry's traditional bread and butter, but for a phone maker to prosper in today’s market it's basically corporate-suicide not to appeal to a multitude of users. You need college kids, teenagers, young adults, older people -- basically, everybody.
Hardware and software have never been BlackBerry’s problem, though. The company excels at both and has done for a good many years now. Where BlackBerry falls short is applications and content. And in today’s mobile space this is a bad thing to suck at -- consumers expect and want to be able to access popular applications and content on their mobile devices. If they cannot they will simply go elsewhere.
Apple and Google have this side of things nailed. iTunes and the App Store, and Google Play are excellent media stores jam-packed with movies, TV shows, apps and games. You can switch between an iPhone and an Android phone with minimal fuss -- the apps and services (say, Google’s) look, feel, and work the same. And when something new comes out -- an application or game, for instance -- you KNOW it will come to Android and iOS first.
For the longest time BlackBerry has been the mobile space’s whipping boy but unlike Microsoft the company has consistently refined its mobile software over the years, adding in new features and capabilities, like BlackBerry Blend and full support for Android apps inside BB10. Granted, a lot of this has gone under the radar of most people but those who are accustomed to BB10’s inner workings can attest that, save for the application void, the platform is one of the best in its class.
The decision to adopt Android is, I believe, a simple fix to an ongoing problem every handset maker, that isn’t Apple or one of Google’s Android partners, faces: they do not have the apps or content to keep up with the space’s biggest players. BlackBerry has now completely solved this issue, placing itself in a rather advantageous position compared to Microsoft’s Windows 10 platform which, once again, is starting from scratch. The only downside is that BlackBerry didn’t do it sooner.
Now you’ll be able to get all the most popular applications and things like Google services, as well as an extensive selection of TV shows, movies and additional content through Google’s awesome Play Store.
And because this is a BlackBerry we’re talking about, you get excellent security features, all the best aspects of BB10 -- BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Blend, for instance -- and a beautiful, full-on QWERTY keyboard which, if the Passport’s was anything to go by, should make emailing and texting a thoroughly enjoyable and rapid affair.