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BlackBerry confirms 'Priv' Android phone will launch this year

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
September 25, 2015
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BlackBerry confirmed that rumors of its first Android device, called Priv, are accurate. In the company's latest earnings report, CEO John Chen said that the smartphone "combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform." It'll arrive by the end of 2015 "in major markets in-store and online," and Blackberry will reveal other details like specs and price within the next few weeks. So far, rumors indicate that it'll have a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge-like curved screen, QWERTY keyboard slider and 18-megapixel camera. Despite the company's turn toward Android, Chen said it "remains committed to the BlackBerry 10 OS," and will release version 10.3.3 in March, 2016.

BlackBerry is obviously hoping the new phone is a hit, as sales continue to fall. Revenue for the quarter ending in August was a disappointing $490 million, a little more than half of what it was this time in 2014. However, the company still had enough cash to purchase Good Technology earlier this month for $425 million, and said it increased its cash balance by $37 million during the quarter. It still posted a bigger-than-expected loss, though, so a lot is riding on its new Android strategy and the oddly-named Priv handset.

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