The BlackBerry Priv is a revolutionary phone for the ailing company, and not because of the slider design or the high-end specs: it’s because the Priv is the first BlackBerry to run Android rather than its own homegrown operating system.
And that move must really be paying dividends for BlackBerry, because CEO John Chen tells CNET that the company will only release Android-based devices in 2016. Chen says the company has one phone definitely coming out this year – maybe the leaked Vienna? – and possibly a second, but in any case, neither will launch with BlackBerry OS 10 installed.
The BlackBerry Classic and Passport will continue to be sold, and Chen says the company is trying to get national security certification for BlackBerry OS 10 so those devices can have more value to governmental agencies and employees. However, BlackBerry isn’t working on any new non-Android devices in the short term.
According to CNET, this will be an especially crucial year for BlackBerry’s continued viability in the hardware market. If the Priv and other upcoming phones don’t gain a solid foothold in the increasingly competitive marketplace, then BlackBerry could refocus on security software and working with other hardware makers to support their products.
That would be a grim state of affairs for the former giant, but the Priv is a very solid start for its Android ambitions: we’ve praised the recent device for its multitasking capabilities, Android tweaks, and great 2K display, although the high price and slightly creaky build are off-putting.
BlackBerry plans to expand worldwide availability for the Priv soon, including offering the phone through Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint in the States once AT&T’s exclusivity window ends.