BlackBerry today unveiled the DTEK50, its second Android phone following the BlackBerry Priv and the first of three upcoming devices. The mid-range device is available for preorder now at ShopBlackBerry.com, priced at $299 USD ($429 CAD, €339, and £275), in 8 countries: Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the U.S.
DTEK50, which is really just a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4, runs Android Marshmallow plus BlackBerry’s additional security, privacy, and productivity tools like on the Priv. On the hardware side, this is a 5.2-inch full HD (1920x1080px) touchscreen phone (the thinnest BlackBerry the company has ever produced, at 7.4mm), no hardware keyboard included. The 135g phone is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor and has 3GB RAM, 16GB of storage (expandable up to 2TB via microSD), a 13MP rear-facing camera, and an 8MP front-facing flash camera.
BlackBerry of course isn’t the first company to claim its device is “the world’s most secure Android smartphone.” Here are the features that are supposed to make the DTEK50 earn that title:
- Rapid Security Patching: BlackBerry has a record of being the quickest to deliver security patches, setting the bar in incident response and patch management to protect your device from malicious threats.
- DTEK™ by BlackBerry App: Enables users to automatically monitor their OS and apps to know when their privacy could be at risk and to take action to improve it. The DTEK app also tracks applications and notifies you when someone is: taking pictures or videos without your knowledge, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.
- Hardware Root of Trust: BlackBerry’s manufacturing process uses a proprietary technique that adds security from the start, allowing for the tracking, verification and provisioning of DTEK50.
- Secure Boot Process: Starting with the root of trust, each stage of DTEK50’s secure boot chain must first verify that the next component is fully intact before proceeding, ensuring your device has not been tampered with since the last restart.
- Android OS hardening: BlackBerry provides additional security patches, improved random number, address space generation and certificate pinning to make it more difficult for attackers to target a device by scrambling application/system memory.
- FIPS 140-2 Compliant Full Disk Encryption: Protects your private information, like pictures or bank information, from being stolen if you were to lose your phone.
In short, BlackBerry is re-emphasizing that its differentiator in the Android market is security, and not just on the high end. It didn’t work with the Priv, so now the company is trying with a cheaper model.