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Here’s The New BlackBerry Priv. How Will It Compete Against The iPhone 6s, Galaxy S6 Among Others

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For those who may have been waiting for a new BlackBerry phone, the wait is over as the company just announced the BlackBerry Priv as seen in the attached video. Well the Priv according to the BlackBerry blog stands for Private so you can already understand what the selling point for their latest device is.The new phone has a keypad that slides out when in use. But I think it’s got features no different from the smartphones released this year. Well smartphones will be smartphones but in my opinion there is a feature that may be attractive to users at a time when countries like the UK are continually looking for backdoors into the user’s device. This policies have angered tech companies from London to Silicon Valley. It’s what BlackBerry calls DTEK. This tells you precisely when background activities relating to your privacy may have occurred. So say an app is suddenly accessing your location or even your camera, you get alerted to this especially when you haven’t authorised this. Tim Cook who is the Apple CEO recently said not even Apple can access encrypted data on its own devices.

Here’s how the DTEK system protects you as seen on the BlackBerry Blog;

Step 1: MonitorDTEK privacy

DTEK’s intuitive visual interface lets you see your device’s security at a glance. The app looks at things like screen lock, factory reset protection and remote device management to assign an overall rating: Excellent, Fair or Poor. DTEK also tracks your applications to see whether they:

  • Take pictures or videos without your knowledge
  • Turn your microphone on
  • Send a text message
  • Access your contacts
  • Access your location

DTEK’s Advanced Tools track when your personal information is accessed, how often and for how long.

Step 2: Alert

Notifications are a great way to keep track of what apps are doing on your PRIV. Whenever an app accesses sensitive functionality, you’ll see a notification pop up with info on what just happened. These notifications can keep you informed whenever apps access your personal data or things like your Camera or Microphone.

You can configure individual notifications for each app and each sensor. You can disable notifications for apps that you trust and enable them for others. Or you can configure DTEK to always notify you if there’s a particular piece of functionality you’re worried about (e.g. your Contacts or your Location).

DTEK app notifications

Step 3: Control

If your device’s security rating shows up as Fair or Poor, DTEK will help you improve it. For example, you can:

  • Enable a screen lock: Protect your PRIV with a password, PIN, pattern or Picture Password. This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself.
  • Improve your malware protection: Google Play is a great way to download apps since it automatically screens for malicious software and potential privacy concerns. You can scan for security threats on the device and you can choose to disable unknown sources so that your PRIV only downloads apps from the Google Play store.
  • Enable Factory Reset Protection: If your PRIV is ever stolen, one of the first things the thief will want to do is to reset it to Factory settings in order to remove the screen lock. Factory Reset Protection ensures that the thief cannot reset the device without your Google account information. This is both an effective theft deterrent and a great way to make sure that your data isn’t accidentally wiped by someone using your device.

Key specifications of the BlackBerry Priv as compiled by GSM Arena

NETWORK Technology GSM / HSPA / LTE
LAUNCH Announced 2015, October
Status Available. Released 2015, November
BODY Dimensions 147 x 77.2 x 9.4 mm (5.79 x 3.04 x 0.37 in)
Weight 192 g (6.77 oz)
Keyboard QWERTY
SIM Nano-SIM
  – Capacitive touch 4-row BlackBerry keyboard
DISPLAY Type AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 5.4 inches (~71.9% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution 1440 x 2560 pixels (~540 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes, up to 10 fingers
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  – Curved edge screen
PLATFORM OS Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Chipset Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808
CPU Dual-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU Adreno 418
MEMORY Card slot microSD, up to 200 GB
Internal 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
CAMERA Primary 18 MP, Schneider-Kreuznach optics, optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
Features Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps
Secondary 2 MP, 720p
SOUND Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Loudspeaker Yes
3.5mm jack Yes
COMMS WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP, EDR, LE
GPS Yes, with A-GPS
NFC Yes
Radio No
USB microUSB v2.0 (SlimPort 4K)
FEATURES Sensors Accelerometer, altimeter, gyro, ToF proximity, compass
Messaging SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email, IM, BBM
Browser HTML5
Java No
  – Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Quick Charge 2.0)
– Optional Wireless Charging (Qi/PMA-enabled)
– MP3/WAV/eAAC+/FlAC player
– MP4/H.264 player
– Photo/video editor
– Document viewer
BATTERY   Li-Ion 3410 mAh battery
Stand-by  
Talk time  
MISC Colors Black
Price group 9/10

Could the Priv save BlackBerry?

BlackBerry which was a pioneer in the smartphone market began losing market share and has undergone some enterprise adjustments but could the Priv help save them. Well BlackBerry reportedly sits on $3b in cash compared to Apple’s $206b which means they could still try out other services and products. For starters, the Priv is an Android device and users would have access to the “rich” Google Play Store. The CEO Jogn Chen has been careful about projections for the new device and has said he targets 5 million in sales in the first year and again this is small when compared to the 47 million sold at the end of the June 2015 quarter. Even the feature that made the brand big has now been overtaken by WhatsApp and the Facebook messenger app. The BlackBerry messenger (BBM) used to attract many people to the platform but that’s not the case today. Other names like WhatsApp which now has over 900 million users and Snapchat have become the go to apps for many users.

Security; the selling point

There is no doubt that BlackBerry has always succeeded where other operating systems like Android haven’t and this could attract people to it. A combination of the most secure mobile device company and the most used mobile operating system (OS) could be a selling point for the BlackBerry Priv. It has a way of verifying that the OS installed is indeed genuine. So guys that’s the new BlackBerry Priv.

DTEK

The new phone goes for $700/139K Naira/ 71K KES and that’s SIM free. So if you’re in Nigeria, you may expect the price to start from 145K Naira. The fact that this is a BlackBerry Android device whose main unique feature is the DTEK may well give it that boost in sales. But I guess time will tell as there are still many BlackBerry fans out there including top business and world leaders.

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