BlackBerry launches first Android-based smartphone in India

New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Canadian mobile manufacturing company BlackBerry on Thursday unveiled Priv — its first “secure” high-end smartphone powered by Android — for the Indian consumers who can buy the device on Amazon.in and BlackBerry-authorised partners and resellers from January 30.

Priced at Rs.62,990 with a unique sleek design and touch-sensitive keys that allows users to swipe, scroll and set up shortcuts, Priv comes pre-loaded with BlackBerry’s DTEK for Android that allows user to improve privacy level and monitor access to the phone.

This app alerts the user every time any third party app attempts to access data, or turn on the phone’s microphone or camera making the phone safe from hacking and data theft.

Apart from DTEK, the phone also has a fool-proof secure hardware that has cryptographic keys into it, providing a secure foundation for the entire platform.

The keys have been embedded to verify every layer of the device from hardware to OS to applications in order to make sure they have not been tampered with.

The phone has a 5.4-inch OLED dual-curved screen with 2560×1440 resolution and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. It sports an incredible density of 540 pixel-per-inch — 4x the amount of pixels of a standard high-definition television — offering plenty of room to work or play with rich colours, deep black levels and less power consumption.

The Priv also has a Productivity Tab that provides an “at a glance” view of the most pertinent info from calendar, task and contacts.

The slider phone also comes with an improved BlackBerry hub having snooze feature that lets the user contextualise the e-mails.

The freedom to choose between a virtual keyboard and a physical keyboard — that also works as a scroller — is one of the distinct features that Priv offers.

The smartphone is powered by a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor — a dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 and a quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 — assisted by a 3GB RAM.

The single SIM 4G phone runs Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) operating system and has an 18-megapixel Schneider-Kreuznach certified-primary and 2-megapixel front camera.

Having a 32GB of internal memory (expandable by up to a whopping 2TB), the phone comes with a mega 3,410 mAh battery for longer hour operations.

PRIV comes with powerful speakers and a three-microphone system that delivers a high-quality listening experience.

Once synonymous with business class phones, BlackBerry lost its luster after Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS came into the market.

The company said with Priv, they are catering to the demands of users who want both — unique features of BlackBerry smartphones and the flexibility of a large number of apps and a wider ecosystem.

In December last year, the Canadian company’s CEO John Chen hinted that BlackBerry may also launch a second high-end Android smartphone in 2016.

Chen said if BlackBerry PRIV does better, “we will focus on the high-end, probably closer to mid-range, coming out in 2016”.

The Canadian mobile technology firm reported a bump in revenue in its latest quarter with cash and investment balance of $2.71 billion.

First launched in October, the smartphone went on sale in the US and Canada in November last year.

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