The BlackBerry PRIV has started rolling out internationally and those in Singapore will be getting it sometime next week. This is the BlackBerry’s first flagship to run on Android and it comes with its BlackBerry Torch-like slider keyboard. Available in retail stores and telcos from 12th December, the PRIV is priced at S$1,098 which converts to RM3,296. That’s slightly more than the Galaxy Note5 which was launched in the island state at S$1,088.
Catching up since the BlackBerry Passport, the PRIV aims to stay relevant with updated hardware and a fresh user experience. It gets a 5.4″ AMOLED Quad HD screen with double curved edges and it runs on a more current Snapdragon 808 Hexa-Core processor with 3GB of RAM. For storage it has 32GB on-board which is expandable with microSD.
Running on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with the possibility of being upgraded to Marshmallow early next year, the PRIV eliminates the concern of having limited apps with full access to the Google Play Store. With virtually all Android players adopting a full touch screen display, BlackBerry hopes to fulfill the needs of consumers that desire the tactile feel of a physical keyboard.
Given its retail price, the PRIV will face a tough challenge from likes of the Galaxy Note5, Xperia Z5 and even the Nexus 6P. After all, existing Android users will be their key focus group according to their Senior Director for Asia Pacific Product Management. The main deciding factor of course the slider keyboard. With the advancements of virtual keyboards such as SwiftKey and Swype, do you really need a physical keyboard in this day and age?
Given a choice between a BlackBerry PRIV and a Galaxy Note5, which smartphone would you get? The PRIV has passed our local SIRIM certification a while back and it shouldn’t take too long for BlackBerry to launch it in Malaysia.