BlackBerry PRIV review: A new standard for Android in enterprise?

CIO.com spent a month testing BlackBerry's first Android smartphone with a focus on the businesspeople and IT managers who will use and support it. The PRIV is the most capable BlackBerry ever, but does it deliver on what may be its most important promise?

blackberry priv keyboard full

BlackBerry's first Android smartphone, PRIV

Credit: Brian Sacco

A month ago, BlackBerry released what could prove to be the most important smartphone in the Canadian company's storied history: the BlackBerry PRIV.

PRIV is the first BlackBerry that doesn't run a version of the company's own OS. Instead, it runs Google's Android OS. It's a forward departure from what most of the world expects from BlackBerry today. It's aimed at the enterprise, and its productivity-focused users — but PRIV legitimately measures up to the most popular consumer devices. And BlackBerry put a sharp focus on privacy. (PRIV's name is a play on the phrase, privilege of privacy.)

blackberry blackberrys priv classic passport Brian Sacco

PRIV could also be one of the last smartphones, if not the final handset, BlackBerry ever releases, at least based on some ominous comments the company's CEO made in October.

I've been using the PRIV for a month now, and evaluating it from the perspectives of a tech-savvy businessperson and an IT manager. 

[Related: BlackBerry Classic review: A killer smartphone for keyboard lovers ]

A lot of people who yearn for the comfortable and familiar clack of those old BlackBerry keys will herald the debut of this smartphone, and the mobile administrators who manage PRIVs will appreciate BlackBerry's eye toward enterprise in its "flavor" of Android. However, some obvious shortcoming will become clear to the most diehard BlackBerry loyalists. And the IT managers who want to deploy, or have to support, PRIV across their workforces also have reason for concern.

blackberry classic passport priv Brian Sacco

BlackBerry Classic, Passport and PRIV

I broke this BlackBerry PRIV review into three sections: The good, the bad and the decision. Hit these individual links to jump to specific sections of interest.

First up, the features and functionality business users and IT managers will appreciate about PRIV. 

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