I remember the first time I had handled the device, Priv had captivated me with the unique form factor. Its unique slide out keyboard, an evolution over the BlackBerry Passport, and the vivid screen indeed captured my imagination. The initial loaded OS was Android 5 that made it prone for heating up and eating up the battery life. However, at no point it lagged or had any performance issues.
Nevertheless, due to efforts of some BlackBerry employees, I was lucky to be accepted in the beta program and I got the Android M update. It was a huge sea change of difference in the install. The previous nagging issues were resolved, the device worked smoothly and all the performance chinks were ironed out. BlackBerry sent out a steady stream of updates, looked at all the bug reports sent in and the result was the best Android device, I ever worked on. It has nifty improvements over the stock Android and it is apparent that BlackBerry had to make several under the hood enhancements to make it more “productive”. Indeed, it offers the ultimate security and privacy.
I wear BlackBerry 10 purist on my sleeve and for years, I had not used any other platform. So much so, I had detested the Android runtime installed as an option because I wasn’t keen on anything mucking up the pure BlackBerry 10 experience. It was a corporate decision from BlackBerry and as an end user, I couldn’t do anything about it. It did increase the availability of the applications till Google fouled up and made it almost mandatory to have its certifications for the apps. Most mainstream developers chose to exclude BlackBerry 10 for one simple reason. BlackBerry 10 placed consumers first at the forefront- their privacy and security. The granular app permissions were not feasible for Android and I never bothered much about it.
Despite the shift to Android, BlackBerry hasn’t compromised with its core principles of providing security and privacy choices to the users. That reflects in the solid encryption baked in the device boot and something no one else has been able to do- secure the OS. Android M was indeed a revelation- the granular app permissions are indeed a delight. I have gotten used to the myriad of applications and permissions and now able to seamlessly switch between Passport and Priv without breaking into a sweat. That helps. As I had written earlier, Priv helps with my academic workflows as well!
Virtual keyboard is a delight to use and I flip the words in the various applications as and when required. I have created a second account for my BBM but for the primary account, I still rely on BBM Protected. That is something which I cannot compromise with. The secondary account helps me to add those users who aren’t too concerned about their privacy. I have tried almost all possible chat applications and detest them even more- for lack of privacy being the prime concern. Each one of them shows up with red flags on DTEK.
Netguard (no-root firewall) is a great application that helps me to actually control the outflow of the data requests. This means, in addition to blocking everything Google, I have disabled every chat application on mobile network, except, of course, BBM. I have seen my battery life zoom up to one and half times more compared to previous! This not only safeguards my privacy but avoids the costly overheads of the data usage. I end up saving a huge chunk of my hard earned money. However, everything is allowed on the Wifi. I had been concerned about the “background” refresh and much of the issues were related to background data being exchanged with the servers. Netguard, avoids that. Pay for the pro version and nearly anything and everything that can connect to the internet shows up. BlackBerry services are whitelisted by default. I am elated with this discovery since this firewall requires no rooting of the device. Brilliant. The best part? It is open source and therefore, I am not concerned about my data being leaked out.
I think Android requires a lot of tweaks to make it functional. This is unfortunate since there’s nothing in it that makes it work out of the box. Going down the line, BlackBerry could do well to give us the port of BlackBerry 10 applications as default on its Android version. This means a native file manager and eliminate the confusing set of menus and submenus even to make the device functional. Android OS is retarded compared to BlackBerry 10 but it’s BlackBerry that made it functional. I know that they could have easily forked it out; nevertheless, they were keen to avoid the learning curve associated with BlackBerry 10. I feel that they were weighed in too much by the media mafia that almost ended dictating them up about how to design a phone.
Nope; BlackBerry is back and they are rocking and they are kicking butt everywhere. With the announcement of Mobility Solutions, I am excited what the future unfolds, how devices get back to profitability and how BlackBerry 10 can possibly make a comeback, albeit in limited numbers for regulated industries.
Priv, indeed, all the way!