Priv is BlackBerry’s Last Stand

The company hopes this will be your next go-to phone

BlackBerry is commanding serious attention as of late. BlackBerry Ltd., the company formerly known as Research in Motion, took a hard fall this past decade.

BlackBerry once dominated the mobile space and now has about a measly 0.4 percent of the mobile phone market share. However, its recent announcement of the BlackBerry Priv phone, due out this fall, shows BlackBerry is in an epic struggle to stay alive.

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With the Priv, BlackBerry could regain sizable footing back into the mobile market. The Priv is impressive. It is everything the iPhone is not. It will be the first BlackBerry to run the Android operating system, and the latest operating system at that, Lollipop.  That means a cornucopia of apps for Blackberries.

Using Google’s software to power a BlackBerry is brilliant for business. There is baked-in connectivity to Google’s entire platform including Google Apps and Gmail, both of which many businesses are increasingly moving to as they move away from on-premise software like Microsoft Exchange. This means no BlackBerry Enterprise Server for a business to deploy and maintain.

There has been a ton of leaks about the BlackBerry Priv’s specs and the CEO of BlackBerry confirmed a few: 5.4-inch curved display, capacitive touch screen and a keyboard slider that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard.

Face it—some users still love a full keyboard on the phone. That feature bundled with BlackBerry’s rock-solid reputation for privacy and security, plus the Android OS, makes BlackBerry seem very well poised to win back fans.

And then this happens:

Blackberry CEO demos the Priv

BlackBerry CEO John Chen made a stumbling, bumbling attempt to demonstrate the Priv to some members of the media. His unfortunate effort does not put the soon-to-be-released BlackBerry in a good light. Instead, it highlights the missteps the company has consistently made to place it currently at the bottom of the mobile phone market share heap. The Priv has created a lot of buzz and renewed optimism about a company that actually, has always made excellent phones. BlackBerry should have handled the first public viewing of the baby it’s banking on to save its tail, the way Apple handles its debut of the latest iPhone.

Even with this PR glitch, there is still hope for BlackBerry if the phone proves to be a hit and is embraced—especially by businesses after release. That is, of course, if Chen offers no more impromptu demos.