Chances are good that sometime before the iPhone became an international hit with the masses you were– or knew somebody who was– a CrackBerry user. CrackBerry is the term BlackBerry users had for the phone they loved to hate.
Email and messages are addictions of a sort, and the BlackBerry’s reign as the top phone for business users meant a crack-like addiction. Along came the iPhone and ease-of-use trumped the hardware keyboard and BlackBerry has been dying on the vine since.
Last week a co-worker met me for lunch and showed me details of what was soon to be his latest gadget. The BlackBerry Priv. The ‘Priv’ stands for privilege and privacy, and after digging around here and there to see how much of each was available, we both agreed that a new iPhone 6s Plus has more privilege and privacy than a BlackBerry Priv.
One could argue that there’s not much privacy left in the world today and going off the grid isn’t really the answer. There’s no privilege being off the grid, and privacy depends more upon where you live than anything else. Somebody somewhere knows where you are and what you’re doing and BlackBerry Priv does not change that.
The Priv is an Android-based smartphone with a physical slide-out keyboard. If you loved BlackBerry keyboards, and I had my share through the years (prior to the iPhone), then you’ll like this one. I cracked up at the image of the Priv on the BlackBerry website. Choose a color. It’s black.
Otherwise, Priv is a somewhat more secure BlackBerry phone that runs Android. It has the usual BlackBerry Hub communication options, a somewhat hardened root to prevent malware and tampering, plus security patches which occur over the air (avoiding some carrier approval requirements; you know, like an iPhone). And Priv keeps other apps from grabbing some of your personal data.
You know, like an iPhone.
Otherwise, Priv looks and works much like any other Android phone, though it may be less prone to malware and malicious attacks than run-of-the-mill phones with a carrier logo. Lots of nifty ideas here, though, most are poorly executed.
I’ve always liked BlackBerry’s method of managing email folders and calendar options can be snoozed but I’m not about to lose sleep over not having similar functionality on my iPhone, though I like the little DTEK security dashboard which offers a real time, ongoing view of security (as measured by an Android app, so caveat emptor applies).
Is Priv more secure than my iPhone? Since Apple curates the apps available in the App Store, there’s little malware to worry about. Add a complex password to your iPhone and it gets about as secure as a device can be short of someone slicing off your fingers to break through Touch ID. Yes, privacy and security are problems, and Apple’s iPhone does a good job managing both with convenience and encryption.
But if you miss BlackBerry’s patented keyboard, don’t mind the idiosyncrasies of Android (and typical malware issues), then Priv might be a good alternative but only if you just don’t like an Apple logo on your smartphone. Prive really isn’t a privileged device and privacy is not the name of the game. It’s just the name.