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It’s official: Android-powered BlackBerry Priv (Venice) coming this year
BlackBerry announced today that its first Android-powered device, the BlackBerry Priv, is coming by the end of the year.
The announcement, part of BlackBerry’s quarterly results report for Q2 FY 2016, comes after a flurry of leaks, including an extensive hands-on look we brought you last week.
BlackBerry Priv, formerly known by its internal codename, Venice, is BlackBerry’s first foray into Android, which the Canadian company tried – and ultimately failed – to fight off with its own operating system, BlackBerry 10.
“Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform,” said BlackBerry’s CEO John Chen. The device promises “best in class security for enterprise customers,” as part of the company’s “heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy.”
The Priv will become available late this year in “major markets in-store and online.” More details, including the price and exact availability details will be revealed in the next few weeks.
The oddly named Priv can be viewed as a last-ditch effort to stay in the loss-making handset business. BlackBerry announced revenues of $490 million in Q2 FY2016, a little over half the same period last year. In the past, John Chen implied that he won’t hesitate to abandon the handset operations, and in this context, adopting Android appears to be one last desperate measure. That said, BlackBerry won’t ditch its own OS, with a major update announced for March.