back to article BlackBerry emits Android mobe as biz goes down the Priv

BlackBerry officially confirmed the release of its first ever Android phone today, and it shall be known as "Priv". It also promised to maintain its BB10 platform with security updates, with a further release 10.3.3 in March next year. The Oxford Dictionary defines a "Privy" as "[noun] a toilet located in a small shed outside …

  1. BenBell

    Sink or swim

    Bold move - effectively killing off the OS in favour of its own Android flavour.

    I personally love the idea of an Android phone with a real keyboard and some of the physical toys associated with the Blackberry of yesteryear.

    It may also revitalise the company, bringing back those who loved BBM, who loved the old warhorse that was BES.

    Or, it'll kill the company... but then the company is dieing anyway.

    Sink or swim fellas.

  2. JakeMS Silver badge


    "The Oxford Dictionary defines a "Privy" as "[noun] a toilet located in a small shed outside a house or other building; outhouse.""

    Someone go fire the dumbass who suggested the name "Privy"!

  3. The lone lurker


    An android phone with a proper qwerty keyboard. I still have my Motorola Milestone for just this reason.

    They've made one sale already.

  4. KjetilS

    I might actually buy one of these, if the price isn't horrible and if it supports memory cards.

  5. Mage Silver badge


    Reminds me of the old original Psion, the one with small LCD and big keyboard with sliding cover.

    I had one at the time (about 1984 or 1985) for something hardware related.

  6. Dr_N Silver badge

    Dual SIM?

    I've really gotten very used to dual SIM, but that keyboard could switch me back to GSM call-forwarding....

  7. Riku

    Because letting go control of the platform worked so well for Nokia

    Given how nobody, not even the giant Crapsung, is making money from Android except Google (for they sell the ad's, clip the ticket on the content and now the payments), I cannot see how this will help, if anything it'll accelerate things for the worse.

    Nokia lost complete control of it's platform to the vagaries of Microsoft's development plans (or lack thereof), late shipping, pissing off 7 customers who wouldn't get 8 and so on.

    Currently Chen's big plan to make them into a mobile security command and control powerhose looks OK, but that totally depeds on owning the platform end-to end and right through the vertical stack. Their entire security management stack is completely fungible and Google could easily take it away by chucking about a week's worth of their income and has manuy dev's as they like at it. Just like they're doing to streaming music apps, Twitch TV and so on. This is not new, it's similar to how MS took the market from companies like WordPerfect, Lotus and so on - sooner or later the platform owners will come for the companies that helped make their platform great, to feed the beast of "growth".

    Bonkers. Just bonkers.

  8. J J Carter Silver badge

    The Priv?

    Known as the 'dunny' in Australia.

  9. Jim84

    Hopefully they can skin Android so it looks and runs exactly like BBOS 10 on the Passport.

  10. J J Carter Silver badge

    And for Australia

    Marketed as the 'dunny'

  11. Brian Morrison

    Last roll of the dice?

    It's hard to tell how good, or otherwise, the Priv will be, personally I don't feel the need for a physical keyboard any more for typing but it may well be great for shortcuts. The risk is that, like the Torch 9800 the sliding aspect will result in a failure of the connections between the two parts.

    As for the software, until I see what the Android/BB linking is like in the OS I can't say that I would even consider this, and the previously BB-cheering member of my household switched to Android some months ago as the Z10 aged and the associated contract reached upgrade time.

    Sorry BB, but I think that the hardware side of the business is probably going to gradually disappear within the next couple of years. And that's a shame...

  12. Federal

    Android phones have all sorts of selling points (and have sold well, because of the that) but often fall short on security. If RIM can address that weakness, and the phone is otherwise comparable to other Android phones, they might have a winner.

    Their biggest competition may come from Windows phone, which also claims some enterprise security features over typical Android phones.

    Apple seems to operate in its own segment - I don't see iOS users moving to Blackberry, more secure or not.

    1. Vince

      Re: Because letting go control of the platform worked so well for Nokia

      I have to say I'm disappointed, the thing I like about my BlackBerry is the OS, bearing in mind we're talking about the BBOS 10 and not the rubbish of the past. If I wanted a half baked device, I can buy those already from everyone else.

      An android slider count me out.

    2. Mikel

      Nobody is going to buy Windows Phone. That ship has left the dock.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd

      More like the original Dell Venue Pro which was nearly brilliant.

    4. fuzzie

      Re: Odd

      It reminded me a bit of the odd offspring of




      I had both, apart from the Tungsten's battery life (how times have(n't) changed), they were great devices. RIM's pretty decent with their hardware design so maybe it'll also have that satisfying snap-once-extended feel, but I suspect people are just over non-slab form factors.

  13. Hans 1 Silver badge

    Bad news, if you ask me.

    They need to bring out another full touch to replace my z30, running BB10, of course. Why would anyone sec-savvy want an Android, or anything other than a BB10 device ????

    I do not get it, the competition is shipping "security sieves by design"© in great numbers.

  14. Bob Vistakin

    What a shit name

    Venice was great. Typical BlackBerry - no idea if they have a winner or loser on their hands, so they screw things up at the last moment just to ensure things head toiletward.

  15. JLV Silver badge

    One unexpectedly annoying bit of owning BB10 devices is how little user lore is around on the net. Crackberry's forums are mostly frozen in 2013.

    Took me hours to copy photos off my phone on a Mac (I don't have iPhoto, long story). BB Link didn't do it - flaky software. This has happened to others too.

    Threads were totally useless and I ended up just doing it with bash. Anything on iOS or Android would have tons of workarounds listed, quite likely in their respective StackOverflow offshoots.

    1. Vince

      re: "Frozen in 2013" comment.... utter nonsense, I participate in the Crackberry Forums, and it's pretty active. However, on the whole Blackberry stuff "just works" so there's little need for constant posts to fix stuff.

    2. Jess

      Took me hours to copy photos off my phone on a Mac

      How? Just mount it as generic storage. Works fine at least back to Leopard. (And probably OS 9)

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Took me hours to copy photos off my phone on a Mac

        To be honest, I am prepared to assume that things would have worked better had I had iPhoto on my Mac. Without it it was a mess.

        >Just mount it as generic storage.

        I know, that's what the thread was stating as well. Trouble is, Finder would not let me open the drive for some reason. With or without mass/usb storage. Although I could cd to it in bash. Why? No idea. Finder kept the volume in "connecting..." status. Mac problem? Probably.

        Then there was the part where the pictures were on the device, and not on the SD. That's what the other user in the thread had problems with. I eventually figured it out:

        - unmount USB/generic storage

        - fire up File Manager on the Z10.

        - move files from device to SD, via File Manager. if you don't unmount first, no SD visibility.

        - remount as USB

        - bash to USB drive, again.

        Hey, what I am saying is when you google "bb10 copy photos mac" you tend to end up with very old threads, like:

        Now, I like my Z10 and I like BB10. I am just saying that the forums are not very lively on what seems to be fairly basic troubleshooting questions. That has been much more of a problem for me than the lack of apps because I avoid installing too many, regardless of the phone OS. Your mileage may vary but someone considering a BB10 phone as a newbie needs to be aware that answers are harder to come by than googling the 500th time an iPhone/Android user has asked how to do something.

        Of course, if you are a frequent forum contributor yourself, then the forums you are posting in or reading are alive. But try coming in from the other end, being a script kiddy and googling for answers, perhaps to obscure questions. Well, there is a distinct lack of up to date answers. At least compared to iOS/Android.

  16. Rob

    Full circle

    Reminds me of the HTC devices that used have the slide out keyboard, for good reason as well, they were running Windows Mobile and a hardware keyboard was needed. I can't quite see the point of adding a hardware keyboard when androids native on screen keyboard seems more than adequate.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Given the problems that companies seem to have with keeping android up to date for skinned/custom versions they could be potentially opening massive security holes in the future where they have no control over patching.

    Lack of control of the OS is always going to amount to lower security in the long run.

    1. Jim84

      Re: Updates

      Yes I think Blackberry should try and use a forked version of Android rather than just stock android, focus on security, and skin it so that it looks and works like BBOS 10 (which I find really good). Although they probably shouldn't try and use Cyanogen OS, as El Reg's past reporting on the Oneplus 2 debacle in India shows that Cyanogen OS may just be a clever way for google to discourage anyone else from trying to produce a version of Android without google's apps pre installed on the device.

      It depends on whether or not Blackberry have the software development resources to do this though. None of the Android handset makers seem to be able to produce a decent skin for some reason.

      I'm not sure about this slider phone, yes a slider does solve the "smaller screen" problem that the classic/passport have, but slider keyboards never seem to be as good as the keyboards on the classic.

      Also Blackberry had a good idea in making the keyboard capacitive, then bollacked it up.It should have worked like the capacitive trackpad on the classic or bold - you use it to move the cursor around like you do with a mouse to edit text. Instead they used it to scroll the screen up and down, which you can already do with your finger on the screen. I slapped my forehead when I got my passport and realized that the capacitive keyboard was used for scrolling and not placement of the cursor(chicklet) in text.

  18. Mikel

    Good management

    Can be dragged, kicking and screaming, upon pain of corporate death, to do the obviously right thing any idiot could have come up within five minutes. Shocker.

    "We sell smartphones. Hey, these smartphone with this common feature we can add for free are selling 1.4 billion units a year, and ours without are tanking. Our customers are begging us for this feature every day. Whatever should we do?"

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I bet Blackberry wonder why they bother to listen to tech churnalists

    I've lost count of the articles* I've read saying that Blackberry must come up with an Android phone, now that's been done the opportunity was used for Priv/Privy jokes and pointing out the obvious, that privacy is not Android's strong point.

    * Not just talking about this esteemed organ. Other esteemed organs are available.

  20. cd

    If they offer Cyanogenmod with no GAPPS and their own app store and feature a card slot and removable battery, well then....

  21. Unicornpiss Silver badge

    If it has the same specs... at least the Samsung S5, an SD card slot, a decent camera and battery, and native Swype as well as the slider keyboard, I think it will find a niche and do fairly well. But geez, the name. Might as well call it the Edsel.

  22. cortland

    How is it in

    the Privy Chamber?

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