BlackBerry launched its first Android-powered Priv smartphone in India at Rs 62,990, trying to regain lost shares in the Android and iOS-dominated smartphone industry. The Canadian tech giant's offering at such high price is a challenging bet, but Priv comes equipped with premium features and excellent design.
BlackBerry Priv's arrival in India comes months after the handset went on sale in the US and Canada last November. Priv will be available in India through Amazon.in as well as offline retail stores starting 30 January. Unlike other BlackBerry smartphones, Priv offers a unique appeal with its premium touch, slide design and Android OS.
Priv offers the comfort of both touch and physical keyboard. Slide the touch screen to access the physical QWERTY keyboard with screen scroll option, which reminds us of the good old days of BlackBerry.
In terms of specifications, BlackBerry Priv sports a 5.4-inch Quad HD Amoled display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, 18MP primary camera with dual LED flash, PDAF and 4K recording. The front camera has a 2MP sensor with HD video recording. The handset is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor (1.8GHz dual-core Cortex-A57, and 1.44GHz quad-core Cortex-A53), 3GB RAM and has 32GB expandable memory (up to 2TB). There's a 3,410mAh battery to power Priv, which supports 4G LTE, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC.
BlackBerry Priv is big on security despite running open-sourced Android OS as base of operation. The handset runs near-stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop OS and is upgradeable to Marshmallow. On the security front, it comes with an extra layer of protection such as BlackBerry DTEK, which scans every single app for its permissions, and prevents third-party launchers or apps from unverified sources.
The price tag of Rs. 62,990 is a bit of a concern here, especially when the competition in the Indian smartphone market is so intense. Mid-range smartphone makers are offering flagship features at less than half the price of Priv. But BlackBerry isn't the only one to suffer as other brands like Apple and Samsung are also struggling to keep up with the growing demand for budget phones in the country.
BlackBerry Priv is the first of many Android phones to come. BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company will launch two Android phones in 2016, which means another Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone is underway.