My Priv, My Choice

My love-hate relationship with my Priv by BlackBerry has been well documented here at UTB Blogs. I can sum this relationship very easily with two sentences.

I love my Priv because it’s a BlackBerry

I hate my Priv because it runs on Android.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that, and I felt very comfortable in saying that. Until I started really using it. That’s when those lines started getting blurred.

I love my Priv. 

Even today, I don’t really feel comfortable saying that. After all, I love my Passport. I love my Classic. I love my Z10 and Q5. I just love BB10. I feel like my love of my Priv is almost traitorous to my BB10 fandom. I’m pretty sure there are readers out there that would tell me it is traitorous. But it’s not.

You see, I want, no, I need BlackBerry to continue with BB10. BB10 is heads and shoulders above any other operating system out there. I’ll go in to why I believe that in a bit, and my reasoning is not what is commonly stated. But BB10 is, without fail, the most advanced OS, and I want it to continue. I hope that the market suddenly gets wise to this and BB10 can take it’s rightful place on the throne as the top operating system. The problem is, the market has not got wise, it’s got a long way to go, and BlackBerry needs to be successful. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get there with BB10. Not right now. Hopefully later, hopefully soon, but not right now.

Right now, BlackBerry is pushing ahead with it’s cross platform strategy. Right now, BlackBerry is producing phones based on what is currently the number one mobile platform in the world. It’s a genius move. They’d be stupid not to. And I didn’t like it. I refused to like it. And I was stupid for doing that.

Why should I feel traitorous for purchasing a BlackBerry and supporting the company I love? Why should I feel guilty for liking an Android powered BlackBerry, when success of the Android phone is needed to ensure the continuation of BlackBerry phones? Why should I hide that BlackBerry has made a great efficient,safe, and fun phone using an OS that others have utilized, yet not been able to make safe or efficient? I shouldn’t.

This is not a BB10 experience, this is a BlackBerry Experience

The biggest issue which I, and I’m sure other’s have faced going in to the Priv is that it is not a BB10 experience. It just isn’t. But it is a BlackBerry experience, there is no denying it.

BBOS was safe. BBOS was efficient. BB10 is safe. BB10 is efficient. So is BlackBerry Android. We have all heard the stories and tales of android malware. These are not fairy tales, they are true. There are many scary stories of apps rooting phones, stealing people’s identities, robbing users of their money. And it’s all true. But there is more to the story than that.

We BlackBerry users have been extremely proud of the fact that BB10 has not been hacked. We tell tales of the hacker that promised he would hack BB10, and then went silent when he could not. Here’s the thing, BlackBerry Android hasn’t been hacked yet. It hasn’t been rooted. Don’t think for one moment, that people haven’t tried. There is a bounty to do this very thing over in the XDA Developer forums. Guess what. It hasn’t happened.

I have heard numerous stories of BB10 users, frightened that there will be no more BB10, tricked by the media both from outside and inside our little BlackBerry community that tells them BB10 is gone, moving on to iPhones. Their stated reason? That they won’t go to Android because it is not safe. So they go to iPhone. Please. This is the epitome of being gullible and uninformed. Yes, Apple is fighting the encryption debate. This does not mean the iPhone is safe. Encryption is one thing, vulnerabilities are another. When hackers are looking to hack, are they checking for encryption? No they are not. They are looking for vulnerabilities. And there is no other mobile platform that has as many vulnerabilities as iOS. A quick visit to CVE Details will show anyone that spends a few minutes looking that iOS has more vulnerabilities than BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone combined. iPhone safer? I think not!

I’ve heard other that are leaving BB10 moving on to other Android phones. Their reasoning that if they are going to get an android, they might as well get the highest specs. Another laughable argument. As BB10 users should already know, specs aren’t everything. We all know that Samsung can and will put out the highest spec devices, however, their Touchwiz interface ensures that the phone will be excessively lagging within three months time. We know that it is how those specs are used that matters, and we know that BlackBerry is smart. They know what they’re doing. And the Priv proves it.

The Priv is not BB10. It’s not. There’s no denying it. There is one thing that keeps drawing me back to BB10, and it is not safety or security. As I stated before, at this point, the Priv hasn’t been rooted. At this point, it is still as safe as BB10.Where BB10 wins for me is it’s efficiency. There is no substitution for the gestures which BB10 utilizes. Hitting those three home buttons all the time on the Priv, is a chore. I won’t lie. It’s frustrating and I hate doing it. It feels like I’ve stepped backwards in evolution going from BB10 to BlackBerry Android. However, with the current software, I feel that this is the only thing I am missing. And there are areas where the Priv makes up for this.

The Priv Gives Me Freedom

Getting over the lack of gestures is the hardest thing I had to go through using the Priv. However, once I stepped outside the anger and frustration of losing this truly forward thinking innovation, I found that the Priv offered me more of what I was looking for.

The Priv offers me something that no other phone offers, and of course, it would take BlackBerry to do this. The Priv offers me a choice. Exactly what BlackBerry has always done. While other manufacturers have limited the choice they give their users to essentially the size of screen and color of case, BlackBerry has provided me a phone that can act in various ways.It can act like different phones. At any given time.

The slider phone is amazing, and for the first time, I’m using a slider to it’s full potential. I’m not new to sliders. I carried a BlackBerry Torch for years. First a 9800, and then a 9810. I never used the virtual keyboard. I tried it. I didn’t like it. I was a physical keyboard guy. The screen was simply too small to lose half of it to use the VKB. And like it’s competitors in that time, it just wasn’t that good. The physical keyboard could be relied upon being accurate, while the virtual keyboard could be relied upon to give some funny typos.

The Priv is different. The virtual keyboard is the amazing BlackBerry virtual keyboard we’ve all grown to love from the Z10, Z30 and Leap. It is the same keyboard, and it is beautiful. It also has the added bonus of all those strange little Android emojies which are lacking on BB10. I use the virtual keyboard often, usually for quick replies, or when I’m using my phone one handed.

The Priv’s physical keyboard doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Many that come to the Priv from BB10 are coming from the Passport. There can be no contest. The work wide size of the Passport is like the first class seats of keyboards. The Priv just can’t fit that keyboard. However, the Priv keyboard is the same exact size as the BlackBerry Classic keyboard, which I still say is the best, most comfortable keyboard on any phone ever. The Priv is slightly flatter than the Classic, as should be expected, just as the Torch was flatter than the Bold. I’m going to let you in on a secret, the Priv keyboard is great. It takes a little getting used to coming from the Passport. It is smaller than the Passport, but it absolutely dwarfes any keyboard on the old school BBOS devices, which we all loved. Once I got used to using it, which took a while since I was so used to my three row Passport keyboard. I grew to love it. I love having my fourth row back. Something I never thought I would say. I love the click that happens after the keyboard is broke in. You all know what I’m talking about. I love that I can in fact type on it one handed should I choose to. And I love that it, like the Passport, is capacitive. I actually do flick words on my Priv, I never did on my Passport.

The Priv allows me to use it as two phones. As a full touch slab, or as a physical keyboard candybar. That’s no surprise, it is a slider. I’m just surprised how good it feels to flip back and forth. It is true freedom. I missed the PKB when I was on my Z10. I missed the VKB when I was on my Passport. Now, I don’t miss either.

But that’s not all, there is a bigger choice here. A much more important choice. It’s a choice of what your phone is. If you wish to use your Priv as a typical BlackBerry, as a productivity machine, you can. Those BlackBerry PIM functions you love are all there. Are they a little different? Of course. But there is less of a difference going from BB10 to BlackBerry Android, than there was going from BBOS to BB10. Hub, contacts, calendar, it’s all there. All ready for you to use your BlackBerry as you always have. To get sh*t done! But, say you want to use your BlackBerry for fun? Say you want to play Pokemon GO (why oh why). Say you want the Facebook, or the Instagram, or the Netflix, and use your phone as an arcade instead of a work tool. You can. With ease. Without having to figure out how to do it. I hate to say it, but it just works.

BlackBerry has always given us a choice. Choice in devices, and now choice in operating systems. The Priv gives us a choice I’ve never experienced before. It gives me a choice of what type of phone I wish to use at any given time. Be it a keyboarded productivity beast, or a full touch arcade in my pocket, the Priv does it. And it does it the BlackBerry way. Safe, secure, and efficient.

Am I a traitor?

No. I am not. I’ve already been called that, but I don’t see it that way at all. Am I all in on BlackBerry Android? No. I currently own 5 BlackBerry phones. I currently use two of them daily. A Priv and a Passport. They both go with me everywhere. Will I get the new BlackBerry Android phones? I hope to. But I also hope to get a new BB10 device when it arrives.

I love BlackBerry devices, and I want to be able to enjoy all of them. Was I happy that BlackBerry began to make android devices? No I wasn’t. But I can now see how well they’re doing it. And I can now enjoy them. Right now? I’m enjoying the heck out of my Priv.


BlackBerry Elite Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs and UTB Geek. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

  • fishlove73

    Wonderfully written. It was great reading about your experiences with the Priv and some comparisons. I think it’s important for more Blackberry Priv owners on UTB to share their experiences with Blackberry Android. Right now I’m still enjoying BB10 and it works well for me. But at the same time I wouldn’t be opposed to using a Priv or any other upcoming handsets (BB10 or Andriod) by Blackberry.

  • ClarkAaron27

    Love this write up! I love all my BlackBerry Phones but my Priv is by far my favorite and with me buying it I was able to contribute to BlackBerry, all the fake BlackBerry fans complained to Chen about no apps so he give us the BlackBerry Priv and guess what?! Their still complaining! Why? Because all they want to do us gripe. I’m not saying that everyone who didn’t buy it is a fake, I’m saying if you complained about no apps and still don’t have the BlackBerry Priv then don’t gripe at Chen because you ain’t happy! Chen has all my respect and ##Blackerry4Life

  • ClarkAaron27

    And if you ( anyone) who thinks the BlackBerry Priv isn’t worth $700 then you haven’t given it a chance, My wife and daughter had the IPhone 6 and the S6 and after playing around with my BlackBerry Priv for a few times Now they use BlackBerry…

  • xBURK

    Great write up Brad.
    I’m basically in the same boat.

    In my mind, BlackBerry had to make this option available. Fact: Developers were not going to give the same commitment to BB10 as Android and IOS. Without that, BlackBerry would be crazy not to at least try and make Android a better option through security, software etc.

    I love BB10, but get a better all around experience with PRIV and Android. Yes, BB10 is better at multitasking and flow, but it’s not something you can’t get usee to. In fact, after a few months, I find when I revert to the Passport, there are things I miss from the Priv. Flow is only one part of many equations when comparing the two.

    I’ve said it so many times, if they could somehow replicate more BB10 on Android, we would finally have the best of both worlds.

  • Alan

    I don’t have the Priv. Been relying mostly on you guys for comments. The Priv sounds like an ok phone. Thanks to Brad and others I have a pretty good idea what the Priv is all about. I have to say that for the people like Brad who are huge BB10 fans and BlackBerry supporter it’s definitely super cool to hear the truth about BlackBerry Android and BB10. To have supported BlackBerry throughout is to be commended. You guys are good strong leaders in our midsts. Your actions and words are powerful incentives.. long live BlackBerry. Long live BB10. Yes I look forward to a day when everyone can be happy with BB10. A BB10 for everyone. If it can happen, make it happen BlackBerry. Thanks Brad for another succinct article.

  • shaun

    Good article Brad, everyone has the right to choose what they use, it’s for no one to judge that person by their choice. For me I can never use Android, as the OS like IOS is horrid, I’ve never been a lifelong Blackberry fan, Blackberry gave me hope when the Nokia N9 was no longer supported, Meego was the best OS on the Planet, and BB10 continued with gesture OS. If BB10 does come to EOL, will I go Android? No it will be the end of Smartphone use for me and a dumb phone future, I get why Blackberry is adopting Android, but it’s not genius move, it’s a move to survive, so for me 2 phones, the Z30 and the Passport SE may be the last smartphone I will ever use, I just feel let down that BB10 could not carry on Meego’s legacy but if BB10 does produce a new device then I will get it, but until that day, the BB10 party is over, I will never use a substandard OS, because Blackberry can never make Android usable for me all they can do is make it a bit more secure. Your choice is yours, it’s not for me to knock it

  • Farzeen_Rashid

    Android? Priv? Come on guys, how lame can things go on from here. Priv maybe your choice, but I must say android is such a lame Operating system. I call it the ‘Force Close God of death’. There are tons of better operating systems out there like the Sailfish OS, Ubuntu Touch ( now in beta) , Windows 10 mobile and last but not the least IOS. Eventhough IOS has vulnerabilities, it is much more refined and stable than the Android OS. So the fact of the matter is, if BB10 dies I will still have many better alternatives rather than the buggy messy advertising hog called droid.

    • Brad

      You’re talking about regular Android. I’m talking about BlackBerry Android. There’s a difference.

      Sailfish, all but dead, Ubuntu, we’ll need to see, I don’t have high hopes, Windows Phone, so dead even Microsoft stopped making phones.

      You lost me when you said iOS. How any BlackBerry user could consider the most insecure OS is beyond me. That’s gotta be a joke, or you’re believing the hype. Might as well get a dumb phone.

      • Jope28

        Having played with the Priv after release, can’t say I see the “BlackBerry Android”.
        If it has the Google system apps, then it’s the “runs the Google” Android.

        There is the “runs the Google” Android, the “Amazon Android” and whatever other forks there are.
        Sounds like a political party chairman trying to paint some “BlackBerry Android” picture.

        It’s “runs the Google” Android with awesome BlackBerry system apps that enhance the OS.
        But things like “HTC Android, Motorola Android, Samsung Android” aren’t a thing.

        Saying “BlackBerry Android” is a stretch. Just embrace what it is, Googly Android, to avoid consumers not being clear about it having access to the Google Play store. That’s what sells.

        Millions of consumers are dumb and BlackBerry shouldn’t want to confuse them.

        • Brad

          As someone that has used Samsung Android, stock Android, limited use of HTC Android and Motorola android, I’m saying BlackBerry Android is far above and beyond. Why? Because I don’t have to use the android way of doing things. I can ignore their mess of a notification system thanks to Hub. I don’t have to work to try and set it up like I want it thanks to the BlackBerry launcher. I have contacts and calendar the way I like. I even have a return to an updated version of my old fave BBOS tasks. But if I want to use it as a regular Android, I can. I just don’t want to.

          By the way, Samsung has TouchWiz, HTC has Sense, they’re all have their own version of Android. BlackBerry’s is just better. :)

          • Jope28

            Those aren’t “versions” of Android.

            I think you should do a ‘public service announcement’ post and explain what are versions, what are just OEMs replacing system apps for their flavor or adding system apps to enhance functionality of Android and add some feature that Google hasn’t incorporated into the OS yet (like Samsung adding two apps visible side-by-side before that was added to the vanilla Android years ago) and also what are forks of Android.

            • Brad

              Would you like to? We have a method for reader submissions.

              I’m no expert on android. I just don’t care for it. What I do know is what I like. What is capable of being used as my daily driver and what is not.

              The Priv us fully capable. The others are not. Add to that BlackBerry’s legendary security and it’s a solid win over any other Android.

              The choice of form factor makes it a win over my other devices. Could that change with another BB10 update or device? Of course it could. I’m not married to BlackBerry Android. I’m married to BlackBerry. Just don’t tell them that. Lol

              • Jope28

                Fair enough.
                I’m sure that type of post would require lots of time being invested into fact-checking and writing it. I’m not a talented writer or have the time. Thanks for the invitation lol.

                I do have to admit that part of me is just irrationally fearing a slippery slope where eventually ‘you’ guys will be ok with a “Samsung S9”, “Alcatel Idol 6S” or “Motorola G6” that is just ‘enhanced by BlackBerry’. That’s where I’m afraid this might eventually go.

                I know the fear is illogical, but I fear losing BlackBerry hardware with an OS that BlackBerry controls the roadmap for.
                It sucks to feel like BlackBerry is just a ‘guest’ on Android and not able to have input in what the core OS should or shouldn’t have.
                BlackBerry controlled OS on BlackBerry hardware is just too good a thing.

                BlackBerry should have their own Brexit and call it Andrexit! Ahahahha.
                Don’t take me too seriously, I’m just thinking about what my options could be once my Passport dies in thee future.

                Rant over. Lol

                • Brad

                  It’s not irrational. We saw the ‘leadership’ of the other sites switch platforms. Seems like people are just waiting for us to do the same.

                  We’re not.

                  Some might leave, some might come, but UTB are BlackBerry fans, and that’s not going to change.

  • kpbutton

    Great write up Brad. The only way the Priv could be any better would be bringing the efficiency/swiping to the OS. Still waiting for a new BB10 phone as well. :)

  • alan510

    A really good read as usual Brad. I agree with you on many points. I find I’m using my Priv much more than my Passport these days. I miss the flow and ease of use of the BB10 OS but agree with you that the Priv is a nice BlackBerry device. Now if the company could only port over the file manager and add some more integration to the Hub I’d be really content. Having said that, I’ll still be in line to buy the next BB10 product when BlackBerry makes one. Let’s hope that happens in the not too distant future.

  • Farzeen_Rashid

    @Brad I must say my experience with android has always been a pain in my a**. And that’s the case with every single member in my family. So, you must realise how much of an hatred we all have towards android devices. The experience with blackberry android might be different as you have mentioned in your article. But, there is always a mind block considering the past experiences I have had with droid.

    And, now for the IOS part, It seems you overlooked what I wrote completely because of your emotional attachment to the droid Priv. I had very well stated that iOS is vulnerable w.r.t security. But, it is much more refined and stable than android. We need to have an open mind with regards to technology. And we all are entitled to our opinion. Is Iphone a dumb phone? Seriously? Not really! Being an ardent fan of blackberry does not mean we disrespect other platforms.

    • Brad

      Trust me, I’ve had an intense dislike of Android. Well documented here at UTB. I agree with everything you said about Android, and that is why I wasn’t giving the Priv a chance. What BlackBerry has done with the inclusion of their apps, have given us the ability to use android as a BlackBerry, eliminating my complaints about Android. All the bothersome mess? I don’t have to deal with it. I could if I wanted, but I don’t have to. That’s the difference with BlackBerry Android.

      As far as iOS, to be clear, a very good friend of mine works at Apple. Within the Apple campus with a very nice position. However, Apple’s business practices (anti-competitive tax dodging etc) not caring about human rights (check their manufacturing chain) ripping off customers (charging double for half the phone) and marketing to the gullible (people actually believe the most insecure OS is the safest) ensure that Apple deserves no respect from me.

  • Farzeen_Rashid

    Well, thanks for instilling in me a ray of hope with regards to the blackberry android experience. I may slowly take a leap into the Priv or the upcoming blackberry android devices. For now, i shall be holding onto my passport a bit longer because it does everything I need. :-). And, to be frank, I was unaware of all that you said regarding Apple. Thanks a lot for the insight. I can find articles upon articles in the Internet w.r.t their humans rights violations, tax dodging etc. :-|. That’s bad, really bad! It seems my respect for the company is slowly starting to evade.

    • Brad

      You should give it a try when possible. It’s amazing that BlackBerry was able to make android usable. I really didn’t think anyone could. The hub is amazing (but still has a way to go before it matches BB10 hub)

      I’m not trying to get anyone to step away from BB10. I love BB10 and still use it daily. It’s just the form factor of the Priv gives so much freedom.

      I just want people to give BlackBerry Android a chance before moving to something else. It really is a different beast.

      And yes, research Apple. It will be an eye opener.

  • Jope28

    Oh boy.
    First the change to iKevin on the orange site, and now the beginnings of Andro-Brad on this site.

    • Brad

      Uhm, my phones are all BlackBerry. And will remain so. There’s a difference.

  • SipoKapumba

    I have been using an LG G4 for just over a week as my primary phone, while my Z30 has been my second phone. I swapped/traded my Passport for the LG to get a feel of Android before getting the Priv because I simply could not afford the Priv. So far, my productivity has dropped by 90 percent. I miss the BlacKBerry Passport’s physical keyboard and the efficiency of BB10. Yes, I have access to all the Android apps that I would want, including Facebook and WhatsApp, but I regret giving up my Passport. I decided to experiment with Android, any Android, at least now I know for myself the limitations of Android, other than BlackBerry Android, when it comes to priductivity and efficiency. I’m yet to experience using the Priv, but I doubt that its efficiency can match that of BB10, as Brad has pointed out. My LG G4 is not a keeper, not that it was intended to be such, but there is little more than I can get from it. Because my journalism work requires me to do a lot of typing, I’ll be getting another the Priv before deciding if I need the Passport again, given that I still have my Z30 as my other phone.