BlackBerry confirms plan to launch its first Android smartphone, Priv, later this year

BlackBerry-Venice

While announcing their Q2 financial results for FY15-16, BlackBerry confirmed its plan to launch Priv (a.k.a Venice), its first Android based smartphone with a slider form factor.

BlackBerry did not officially launch the device, but has just confirmed its existence and their plans on launching it later this year.

Today, BlackBerry is announcing two new additions to its handheld device roadmap. First, the company will launch a flagship slider device, Priv, which will run on the Android operating system, bringing together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform. In combination with BlackBerry’s efforts to support Android for Work on the BES12 platform, the new device will offer best in class security for enterprise customers. BlackBerry expects the device to be available late in the calendar year in major markets in-store and online, and will release further details in the coming weeks.

The company also reassured that it will not stop working on BlackBerry 10, its own OS for its devices, and will continue to develop and support it for the foreseeable future.

While the new device will provide a choice in OS to new and existing customers, the company remains committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which enables industry-leading security and productivity benefits. Second, the company will continue to develop and enhance the BlackBerry 10 operating system and is confirming plans to release platform updates focused on security and privacy enhancements, with version 10.3.3 scheduled to be available in March 2016.

The BlackBerry Priv does seem to be an impressive handset with a sliding keyboard. It has already leaked in plenty of pictures, and leaks indicate that the handset will come with a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM, an 18MP shooter, and run a near stock build of Android 5.1. [Via CrackBerry]

Update: And below is a video of BlackBerry’s CEO showing off the Priv in action and explaining the reason behind the phone’s name. The video will make you cringe and laugh out loud, as the Blackberry Chief struggles to use Android.

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