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Let me be upfront. I personally am incredibly fond of names like BlackBerry Shift, or really anything other than ‘Priv,’ but I’ll show some respect for BlackBerry’s new regime Chief Evangelist, Mark Wilson, who without acknowledgement has shown us time and time again that this is a new BlackBerry under the guidance of CEO John Chen. Priv by BlackBerry has been received by the community to generally negative sentiment with 4/5 readers on CrackBerry disliking the name. Perhaps, those results may be a bit skewed. Oh, and it’s pronounced PRIV – like privilege.

If you sit back and think about the name ‘Priv,’ it actually makes a lot of sense. Many expect a device name to glamorize the device, but BlackBerry is a software company. The hardware is only part of what’s offered. Sure, there’s Android. Sure, there’s QWERTY… but there’s also Privacy, which is a much more intangible thing. This is the marketing potential BlackBerry has to tout its expertise in security and moreover consumer privacy. To capitalize on the data losses in popular apps and services, BlackBerry has crafted a device that is enterprise grade when paired with BES software and also has consumer services to defend against compromised data.

Here’s an excerpt from a Globe and Mail feature talking about Priv and security.

“Mr. Chen was clear the amount of hardening that BlackBerry does, from chipsets to the Linux kernel and on down, requires a lot of help from Google – which they are getting – to make an Android phone as secure as a BB10. That said, the Priv will have security features no BlackBerry or Android has had before.

“We will have technology that will help the individual know if they have been snooped, attacked, compromised,” said Mr. Chen, adding on screen notifications will “measure your vulnerability … and individuals will be able to tell if anything is happening to them.”

This is the touted BlackBerry Safeguard application suite that BlackBerry has integrated into Android.

Ultimately,  Priv is derived from the same core principles with which BlackBerry 10 was created.

“…We built BlackBerry 10 because we want to be the best at security.” ex-BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins

Across the last two years, BlackBerry 10 as a platform has nailed that niche, servicing top government and regulated customers around the world. This last quarter, their enterprise sales teams and general consumers were able to buy-up 800,000 units worth of BlackBerry devices with an ASP (Average Sale Price) of $240. Do the math and you’ll see – there’s a lot of of money to be made from these devices but the volumes are too low, despite a consistent demand. Enter Priv by BlackBerry.

1) PRIV Root Form

Priv- comes from Latin, where it has the meaning “separated; apart; restricted.” This mirrors the kind of restrictions and data separation BlackBerry can achieve with their BES through the Android for Work initiative.

2) Priv-ledge

Priv offers something for everyone… a physical keyboard and the plethora of application support from Google Play. The device will be marketed with ‘Priv’ at the center of the conversation. Because your Privacy is your Privilege. Security is what BlackBerry offers through their latest partnership with Google.

3) Priv-acy

While governments and enterprises rely on security, the consumer appreciates ‘security’ in terms of privacy. They want the peace of mind to know their data is free from embarrassing exhibition. BlackBerry has measures in place on this Android to offer customers an elevated privacy and permissions experience. Finer control over applications will allow BlackBerry to safeguard the consumer data experience, which will empower the open nature of Android’s ecosystem.

4) Search Engine Optimization

Priv is not a generally searched term on the internet. Names like Passport and Classic, while great to describe what the device represents, are already saturated terms online. BlackBerry is grabbing at web-space that hasn’t yet been colonized. This makes the Priv name much more specific and betters BlackBerry’s visibility for the device. Also, because PRIV is used in words like private, privacy and privilege, it will get even more traction as a brand name. This is why names like Wii, iPad and others stand out as they are distinct and not immediately easy to relate with.

5) Exploits Competitors’ Weaknesses

For the Priv to be successful, BlackBerry must offer a “killer app” and, in this case, that app is likely whatever front facing security and privacy additives BlackBerry is bringing to Android. Neither iPhone nor Android are perceived as secure, so if BlackBerry can use their brand and seed Priv as a secure and connected alternative to the underlying drawbacks of their competitors’ platforms, they’ll be able to offer a competitive advantage no one else can upon Android.


James Nieves

Author James Nieves

Manning the helm here @BBRYFLOW. Feel free to shoot me an email.

More posts by James Nieves
  • Kelvin Peña Raymond

    Let’s stop criticizing BlackBerry and put ourselves in John Chen’s shoes for a moment. His task is clear and very complex (turn the company around from the ground up and make it profitable).

    BlackBerry 10 is an amazing and powerful OS, the best out there. We also have to understand that this is business and BlackBerry needs to sell phones and lots of them worldwide.

    Android’s popularity is undeniable.

    On the other hand let’s not forget that rebuilding a brand’s image takes a lot of effort and time.

    Let’s support BlackBerry and hope they keep offering BlackBerry 10 alongside Android.

  • If you have to defend the name with a long article, it’s not a good name.

    • I hear you. I’m not a fan of the name myself but an article expanding on how the name evolved and where it was born out of is still worth communicating. BlackBerry giving such a name to this slider device makes a interesting conversation for sure.

  • Is the priv, a faster device than the passport.
    What is the the best, passport se or the priv, no complaints with my black passport it’s a fantastic
    Device. Appreciate any advice.

  • Sridhara Shankara

    Well, ‘priv’ can’t be either good or bad …it is what kinda traction the device itself has in the market is what it counts.Then even a ‘bad’ name becomes a ‘good’ one!

  • david

    I wish blackberry the best but one is simply dreaming in technicolor if you believe that this modified Android kernal is as secure as BB10. There are fundamental problems with the underlying architecture and slapping some app on top will not fix the exploitation problem. This sort of thinking is simplistic and fundamentally inaccurate. Even Chen has admitted that BlackBerry can’t fully secure Android despite throwing every available resource at it.

    BB10 is by far a more secure and intuitive OS. It may have a modest following and users appreciate it’s overall design. It does not deserve to be ridiculed. Please try to be more professional in your comments.

    • QNXbbx

      Bb10 is the mobile os for HiFi kind of users; the ones that are into development and understand
      Analdroid is for mp3 users

  • Jon raymonds

    I’m gonna get it I have a leap Q10 already

    • Ramsey

      What’s a leap Q10?

  • Alan

    Nice write up James. I’m really on the fence about the Priv.
    BB10 is such a great OS… It’s a compromise but it is still a BlackBerry. It will be interesting to see first hand what BlackBerry had done with the android. As a friend would say: “It is what it is long live BlackBerry”. Quality speaks for itself, and the Priv will be quality no doubt about it. Here is hoping to exciting Priv performances up ahead for us all. I’m kind of looking forward to that challenge, I’m up to it, and so is BlackBerry.

  • Allen

    I’m think about whether I should sale my passport now.

  • Danteventu

    I like the concept but I just wish that they had made a bb10 version too. Would have ordered that no doubt.

  • Martin Winter

    I really like, what has become of this phone, although I personally like BB10 more than iOS or pure Android, I’m quite eager to test out Android with a Blackberry flavour, maybe this is really the best of both worlds! :)

  • Jon raymonds

    That phone is nice I want to purchase

  • Marc

    An interesting article. I was on the fence with this device. Now that I now that BlackBerry has integrated features to notify users of snooping may sway me. My biggest concern with Android is the intrinsic attributes of snooping that make Google so sinister. If BlackBerry can secure the device from Google snooping and give me hub and more apps then I may be in on the Priv.

  • Babjee

    Excellent idea for this time. Because compilation is very high .

  • Anthon

    A great read James, thanks.

  • Tinio

    I get it.

    BlackBerry needs a way out sooner not later. I think we should wish BlackBerry the best and see what’s going to happen.

    BB10 is the best OS in my opinion, but it didn’t impress the iSheep and Androians, very sad!

    If BlackBerry does well with the Android experience, many BlackBerry devices could be seen in the WILD which sounds good from a point of view, that’s something that doesn’t happen for a while now. Maybe after that, some people taste the BB10 experience and stay.

    Hopefully I can have my BlackBerry Passport SE before the end of the year.

    Good luck!

  • Tinio

    I get it.

    BlackBerry needs a way out soon not later. I think we should wish BlackBerry the best and see what’s going to happen.

    BB10 is the best OS in my opinion, but it didn’t impress the iSheep and Androians, very sad!

    If BlackBerry does well with the Android experience, many BlackBerry devices could be seen in the WILD which sounds good from a point of view, that’s something tha doesn’t happen for a while now. Maybe after that some people taste the BB10 experience and stay.

    Hopefully I can have my BlackBerry Passport SE before the end of the year.

    Good luck!

  • QNXbbx

    This is Funny:
    “…a lot of help from Goooogle to make Analdroid as secure as bb10(!?)
    Which we are getting…

    The crack they’re smoking this time is really soooo pure…

    I guess we’re done

  • Bmac

    Great article! Corporate Android users would be dumb not to get this phone!

  • Without BIS i really am not enjoying BlackBerry….

  • copernic

    Motivated…. nice.

  • koko

    Fantastic analysis. I agree wholeheartedly. I predict priv will outsell galaxy series in two years.

  • Merritt Cluff

    I think we get it. We need to see if Priv delivers. Does it mean it’s Priv and my passport isn’t?

    • James Nieves

      Your Passport is very private. Security through obscurity ;)