BlackBerry CEO John Chen on Friday confirmed the company’s plans to launch an Android-powered handset. Priv, named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core focus on privacy, will combine its strengths in productivity and security with Android’s expansive mobile app ecosystem.
Like most of the devices in the company’s portfolio, the Priv will feature a physical keyboard (of the slide-out variety). Physical keyboards were a staple of early smartphones but with the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, that started to change. These days, it’s virtually impossible to find a modern smartphone with a physical keyboard outside of BlackBerry’s offerings.
Chen, who said Priv will be available this calendar year, promised to provide more information regarding the device in the coming weeks.
An August leak claimed the device would feature a 5.4-inch curved display powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 808 hexa-core SoC alongside 3GB of RAM. Elsewhere, the Priv is said to carry an 18-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization and two-tone dual-LED flash with storage expandable via microSD card slot.
Despite shifting gears a bit to Android, Chen said the Canadian handset maker will continue to develop and improve its BlackBerry 10 operating system. Chen added that they plan to release platform updates (version 10.3.3) focusing on security and privacy come March 2016.