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November 6, 2015

BlackBerry Priv bets on Android to revive mobile hardware business

News: BlackBerry’s own OS has seen limited take-up.

By Alexander Sword

BlackBerry began a new chapter in its devices business with the release of Priv by BlackBerry, its first Android smartphone.

The device went on sale in the UK on 6 November 2015 for £579.99, although it has been available for pre-order since October.

The security-focused device features a slide-out keyboard, as well as bespoke apps aimed to inform the user about security leaks.

It carries a 5.4 inch display, runs on Android Lollipop, runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 and comes with 3GB RAM.

The device claims to combine "BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform."

The Priv is the first device that BlackBerry has sold that does not run on its own operating system (OS). Currently this OS has only 0.2 percent of the global market.

Android, by comparison, is installed on 84.1 percent of devices, according to Strategy Analytics.

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BlackBerry’s OS, which runs on its own branded devices, faces challenges in adoption due to its smaller roster of available applications.

Instead of relying on hardware sales, BlackBerry has been pursuing a strategy of becoming a multi-platform enterprise mobility vendor through its software offerings.

In the recent Q2 results, software and services took a 15 percent share of revenue, while hardware took 41 percent. By comparison, in the same quarter last year BlackBerry garnered 46 percent from hardware, 46 percent from services and 8 percent from software and other revenue.

As part of this strategy, in September, the company announced the $425 million acquisition of Good Technology.

 

Why BlackBerry and Good are two sides of the same coin: read the full interview with Good Technology CEO Christy Wyatt here and BlackBerry’s VP of product management Tim Choi here.

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