With its upcoming PRIV smartphone, BlackBerry needs to strike the right chord with people. While the company was once a giant in the smartphone market, it's taken a nosedive in recent years, and has yet to deliver a product that anyone would consider a "win". Fortunately, PRIV does boast a couple of fantastic perks.
For example, PRIV is a high-end model, sporting a Qualcomm 808 SoC under the hood, 3GB of memory, 32GB of storage, 18 megapixel rear camera, and a mammoth 3,410mAh battery. At 5.4-inch, it could also be argued that it's the ideal size for the businessperson or regular folk that want to get a lot of crisp detail but don't want to carry around what feels like a tablet.
Where BlackBerry is really trying to capitalize on with PRIV is with something that's tied to its name: privacy. The current state of security on Android, to some, is abysmal, with users having to really go out of their way to make sure that their data is safe. Being a company that's always had a big focus on security, BlackBerry has a number of things it's bringing to PRIV to make sure the security conscious take notice.
All of this is detailed in a new official blog post, which provides a list of what we can expect:
- BlackBerry’s Hardware Root of Trust, a unique manufacturing process that injects cryptographic keys into the device hardware, providing a secure foundation for the entire platform.
- Verified Boot and Secure Bootchain, which uses the embedded keys to verify every layer of the device from hardware to OS to applications in order to make sure they haven’t been tampered with.
- A hardened Linux kernel with numerous patches and configuration changes to improve security.
- FIPS 140-2 compliant full disk encryption on by default to protect your privacy.
- The BlackBerry Infrastructure, a secure distributed global network that transmits petabytes of encrypted data to and from the world’s most powerful leaders and professionals.
- BES12, the leading Enterprise Mobility Management platform used by the world’s most powerful governments and corporations.
Overall, this sounds quite good. All of the important layers are going to have cryptographic locks, which likely means that the PRIV will not be rootable / flashable, unless BlackBerry lets people deactivate these safety features entirely (similar to UEFI's 'Secure Boot').
The use of a heavily patched kernel also sounds good, as does the fact that the company promises to keep on top of security updates better than its competitors. Add strong disk encryption to the mix, and this really does give the impression that this will be the most secure Android device on the planet. Of course, it'd also be one of the very few with a hardware keyboard, as well.
Let's hope this is enough to make this thing fly off the shelves so that BlackBerry can get a glimpse of its former success.