Rumors surrounding an Android-based BlackBerry smartphone have been creating a buzz online for quite some time and now confirmation comes straight from the horse's mouth.

BlackBerry has officially announced that it intends to launch the first-ever Android-powered BlackBerry handset dubbed the BlackBerry Priv.

"Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry's heritage and core mission of protecting our customers' privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform," said John Chen, the company's CEO.

Details and images of the BlackBerry Priv have been leaking online for a while now and the device was known by the moniker Venice.

The BlackBerry Priv is rumored to sport a 5.4-inch QHD screen with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The smartphone is also believed to house a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 chipset, the same processor which powers the LG G4.

The device is also believed to tout an 18MP primary camera with OIS, dual-LED flash and fast focus. For selfie lovers, BlackBerry is said to have packed in a 5MP front-facing camera in the Priv.

It is not known what would be the storage capacity offered by Priv, but it is estimated to be at least 16GB. The Priv is also anticipated to rock 3GB of RAM.

The presentation by John Chen to publication BNN also showed off that the svelte looking BlackBerry Priv had a microSD card slot located at the top of the handset alongside the SIM card slot. The volume buttons on the handset are located on the right and the handset will have a non-removable battery.

Chen's presentation also showed that the BlackBerry Priv would sport a QWERTY slider below the screen. The handset will also have a "tap to wake" feature. The slider keyboard will also have biometric sense embedded and will enable users to send a text or scroll with a simple swipe down or up of the keyboard.

The BlackBerry Priv is expected to come pre-loaded with Android 5.1 Lollipop and a few standard BlackBerry applications. The default browser on the smartphone will be Google Chrome.

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