BlackBerry is officially accepting preorders for its new Android-based smartphone.
Priv was first announced last month. The phone features a touchscreen, slide-out keyboard, and Blackberry’s security software.
The phone is first being made available in the U.S., U.K., and Canada for $699, £549, and $899 CND respectively. BlackBerry hasn’t yet announced when the phones will actually ship.
Priv is an important launch for Blackberry. The once-popular handset maker has seen its sales dwindle in recent years, so much so that CEO John Chen recently said that it would retire its mobile phone business if it isn’t profitable in a year. A look at the popularity of its operating system among smartphone users paints a picture of BlackBerry’s overall standing in the market. That’s likely why it decided to use Android for its latest device.
Chen says he intends to marry BB10 OS with Android in the future to give its devices enterprise-level security and software within an Android user experience.
In order for BlackBerry to move ahead with more devices and a new operating system, its smartphone business is going to have to beef up sales first. That makes Priv’s success or failure crucial to BlackBerry’s future.