AT&T has become the first U.S. carrier to launch the new Android-powered BlackBerry Priv. The smartphone will go on sale Nov. 6 and is priced at $249.99 when signing a new 2-year contract or $699 full price.
When rumors began circulating that BlackBerry was planning to release its first smartphone powered by Android, it was the classic "if you can't beat them, join them" methodology in play. The company has been struggling to attract new users to handsets running its homegrown BB10 OS, so in what could be the former smartphone king's swan song, it is betting its future on a QWERTY-equipped Android 5.1 Lollipop smartphone called the BlackBerry Priv.
Since BlackBerry is now an official Android licensee, it has loaded the Priv up with the kind of specs and features found in flagship Android smartphones from companies like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola. The Priv features a Quad HD dual-curved edge display similar to the one found on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +. The handset is powered by a 64-bit Snapdragon 808 processor, Adreno 418 GPU (graphics processing unit), and 3 GB of RAM.
The BlackBerry Priv packs in an 18-megapixel dual-flash Schneider-Kreuznach certified camera, 32 GB of internal storage, microSD expansion slot that supports up to 2 TB microSD cards, and large 3,410 mAh battery that will provide up to 22.5 hours of uninterrupted power.
Besides checking off all of the important specs you'd expect to find in a flagship Android smartphone, this is still a BlackBerry, and the company has added its iconic QWERTY keyboard to the mix, which slides out when users prefer typing on a physical keyboard in place of an onscreen keyboard.
The BlackBerry Priv is expected to be released by all four major carriers in the U.S. , and AT&T has announced that it will be the first to offer BlackBerry's Android smartphone to its customers.
"You can finally have everything you loved about BlackBerry with the capabilities of Android OS. This smartphone is a powerhouse with sleek design, seamless productivity, and advanced security features on the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network," proclaimed Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Device Marketing and Developer Services, AT&T Mobility.
AT&T will begin selling the BlackBerry Priv in its retail stores and online store on Friday, Nov. 6. The smartphone will be priced at $24.67 per month (30 months) on Next 24, $30.84 per month (24 months) on Next 18, $37 per month (20 months) on Next 12, $249.99 when signing a new 2-year contract, or $699.99 full price.