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BlackBerry today announced that its only Android device is finally getting the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. We fired up our BlackBerry Priv unit and, indeed, the Android 6.0 Marshmallow update was waiting. (It’s 1,111.4MB, so make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi before you start the download).

BlackBerry added that if you purchase a Priv from today, the device will ship with Marshmallow. The Canadian company further notes that all major carriers offering the Priv will also include Marshmallow starting on May 3 (if you bought your Priv from a carrier, you might have to wait until then for the update notification to pop up).

Earlier this month, BlackBerry launched an Android Marshmallow public beta program. At the time, the company said the program would last between four and eight weeks. And yet, it looks like just three weeks was enough to determine that the Marshmallow update was ready for prime time.

In addition to everything Android Marshmallow offers (including Doze and app standby) and the May 2016 security update, BlackBerry calls out the following features specific to the Priv:

  • DTEK now gives you the power to control what to share and when. You can turn permissions off at any time and still continue to use the app, and you’ll only see notification controls for sensors that an app has specifically requested access to.
  • S/MIME feature in BlackBerry Hub lets you digitally sign and encrypt your emails.
  • BlackBerry Keyboard now has over 200 new and updated emojis, a new swipe capability (drag your finger across the keys to enter words on the virtual and/or physical keyboard), better cursor control, and enhanced word prediction based on where you place your fingers on keys and the numbers you type.
  • The phone’s mute status is visible at a glance via the floating phone indicator (yellow when your call is muted and green when it isn’t).
  • View notifications from even more of your favorite social media apps in BlackBerry Hub — including Instagram, Skype, Slack, and Pinterest.
  • The updated BlackBerry Launcher better organizes apps and widgets into Recent, Personal, and Work sections. You can also set a default home screen, delete a home screen, and remove apps with a flick.
  • You can now encrypt your media cards. If your Priv is lost or stolen, any files stored on expandable storage should be secure.
  • Record videos at 24fps in 4k, 1080p, or 720p. You can also now capture smooth slow-motion video at 120 fps and play it back smoothly at 30 fps. The slow-motion effect can be applied after taking the video, including to specific sections of the video.

In our Priv review, one of our biggest criticisms was that the phone did not ship with Marshmallow. This was particularly disappointing given that Android Marshmallow started rolling out in October 2015, and when the Priv arrived in November, other Android devices were shipping with the latest and greatest. It thus took BlackBerry more than five months to get Marshmallow ready for the Priv. While that is an unfortunately long time, we’ve seen a lot worse from other Android makers.

Now that it’s finally here, you can expect a re-review of the Priv with Android Marshmallow.


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