BlackBerry Ltd , has been fueling a very long run up to the release of the Priv, its latest attempt to leap back into the smartphone market, but the firm has very little to go on. Besides the obvious hooks, the fact it runs on Android and the hardware keyboard, there’s very little to really note about the Priv specs. On Tuesday the firm finally revealed something interesting.
On the Inside BlackBerry blog the firm’s head of security, Alex Manea, finally went into some sort of detail on the changes that the firm has made to the Alphabet Inc mobile operating system. It turns out that the firm may be right to brag about very advanced levels of security in the Priv, though the device’s name can still be questioned.
Priv means Privacy
BlackBerry , in a blog post titled “PRIV is for Private: How BlackBerry Secures the Android Platform,” has shown off the lengths it went to in order to make Android, an OS with a less than stellar rep for keeping data safe, secure.
Manea says that BlackBerry has put a unique cryptographic key in each and every Priv that will allow the data stored on the device to be free from tampering, even if it falls into the wrong hands. That’s BlackBerry’s Hardware Root of Trust and it’s the first time we’ll see it on Android.
On top of that the firm has made “numerous” changes to the Linux kernel at the heart of Android in order to make it more secure. It also has BES12, the firm’s enterprise security data management system, baked right in, and uses “Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain” to ensure the hardware hasn’t been messed with.
BlackBerry builds up for a hardware storm
BlackBerry has had too many last chances for the Priv to anything but another in a long line of very decent phone releases. If it fails to sell in decent numbers, like all the phones the firm has released in recent years, that’s not going to kill BlackBerry.
Security is going to be at the heart of efforts to sell the BlackBerry Priv, and the firm’s future depends on making businesses think that the Android system it has built is secure, and worth paying for. The features above are the real thing that those buying for enterprise want to see from BlackBerry.
Everything else, from the screen resolution to the action on the keyboard, will help, but won’t be the major force behind sales of the smartphone.
This is far from the last chance that BlackBerry has in the smartphone market. The firm’s software business appears to be growing just enough to make hardware projects worth some investment for many years to come. That said, some of the ways in which the firm has handled the release of the Priv call its strategy into question.
Sales will decide whether or not BlackBerry succeeded in the design and marketing for the Priv. It’s not likely that the firm will compete with the iPhone, but that’s really not the aim. All it needs is a decent performer this time around to remind the world that it’s not dead, and it may have a place on Android.