Poor BlackBerry. Once a glistening jewel in the crown of the mobile market, the Canadian firm has had a tough few years, becoming the laughing stock of the industry.
Things weren’t helped when it transpired the rumoured BlackBerry Venice phone would actually launch as the BlackBerry Priv – a slang term for a toilet in the UK (privy, to be exact). The headlines were writing themselves.
Add into the mix the embarrassment of BlackBerry ditching (or should that be flushing?) its own BlackBerry 10 mobile platform in favour of Google’s Android operating system, and it looked like it really was the beginning of the end for the firm’s hardware business.
Thing is, the more details BlackBerry teases out about the Priv, the more I’m getting genuinely excited about it.
The biggest bugbear for pretty much every smartphone user these days is battery life. I’ve been told by numerous manufacturers and retailers that battery life is a key customer purchasing decision, and how they’re working hard on addressing it.
Power saving modes and quick charging are welcome additions, but I’d rather not have to scrabble around for a cable or turn off key features just for my phone to see me through until bedtime.
BlackBerry has now revealed it’s squashed a mammoth 3,410mAh battery inside the Priv – a power pack that’s significantly bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (2,600mAh), HTC One M9 (2,840mAH), LG G4 (3,000mAh) and iPhone 6S Plus (2,915mAh).
The Priv sports a 5.4-inch dual-curved display, but with a full HD resolution of 1,080p it won’t be as power hungry as the QHD offerings on its Samsung and LG rivals.
That’s also a size I feel pretty comfortable with. I’ve used the 6S Plus, OnePlus 2and LG G4 extensively over the last few months, and the 5.5-inch screen size is particularly brilliant for gaming and movies on the go.
Finding the balance
Of course BlackBerry’s claim that the battery is “long lasting” is exactly that – a claim – until I get my hands on the Priv to see if it can actually go the distance.
It’s not just battery that the Priv has going for it though: it also looks pretty cool. I love the curved screens on the Galaxy S6 Edge and S6 Edge+, and it appears BlackBerry has gone for a similar finish here.
Plus there’s the slide down keyboard which reminds me of the Nokia 7110 and 8110 (the “Matrix phone”), and we all know how cool that was back in the day.
Then there’s BlackBerry’s bread and butter: privacy and security, things you don’t really hear too much about in the Android world. For those of you with highly sensitive email accounts, or a gallery stuffed full of questionable selfies, the Priv can alert you when your privacy has been compromised.
It sounds like some real James Bond stuff, but BlackBerry Priv is genuinely bringing it to life.
BlackBerry isn’t the first firm to introduce privacy and security features to an Android device. There’s the super secure Blackphone 2, Samsung has its Knox functionality and so on, but it looks like BlackBerry has found a better balance.
BlackBerry is focussing on key features with the Priv – battery, design, privacy and an operating system which is welcoming to a wider audience. If it manages to pull it off (and of course there’s no guarantee yet that it will), you can sign me up straight away.
Please don’t let me down this time BlackBerry.