Within a week of the official availability of BlackBerry’s Android-powered Priv smartphone here in the UAE and across the GCC, one of the region’s largest mobile reseller says the device is selling like hotcakes.
“We are seeing extraordinary demand from our customers for Priv by Blackberry, as many would like to enjoy the flexibility offered by Android without compromising their privacy,” Faisal Al Bannai, Managing Director at Dubai-based axiom, said in a media statement.
“Sales have exceeded our expectations with many customers choosing to trade in their existing smartphones...,” added Al Bannai.
Meanwhile, Dubai-based UAE telecom operator du has announced the availability of the new BlackBerry Priv for a one-off payment of Dh149.
In a statement, the operator said that those who purchase the device on a 24-month contract will have to make a downpayment of just Dh149 and, in addition to the device itself, shall receive 300 flexible minutes and 11GB data for a plan that entails a Dh350 per month payment.
“We are thrilled to be amongst the first to offer our valued customers the latest device from Blackberry. At du, we strive to continuously surprise our customers by bringing them the best experiences and ensuring that they are consistently introduced to the latest and very best that technology has to offer,” said Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Commercial Officer, du.
BlackBerry maintains it verifies the integrity of the Android OS every time the device boots up, so extra precautions are taken at both hardware and software levels to protect Priv from malicious tampering.
Several research reports indicate that the Android OS is the most vulnerable to mobile malware, with an overwhelming 99 per cent of all mobile malware targeting Android devuces.
Read: 99% of mobile malware attacks Android phones
In 2014, a report from Kaspersky Labs said 98 per cent of mobile malware targets the Android operating system. Taking a leaf from that report, and going one up on it, the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report reckoned that Android mobile devices bear the brunt of 99 per cent of all mobile malware.
BlackBerry says that it counters that through patented security systems. The form maintains that DTEK by BlackBerry for Android warns users when their privacy is at risk by monitoring application access to a user’s microphone, camera, location, and personal information. This way, users can immediately take action to improve, it notes.
On the other hand, the Android OS allows users access to an array of Google Play Apps while the new smartphone’s sleek design marries Blackberry’s beloved physical keyboard with a dual-curved all-touch display.
The latest smartphone from the Canadian manufacturer was made available in the UAE last week for a suggested retail price of Dh2,899. Within hours of the UAE availability announcement, online retailers were peddling the device for as low as Dh2,529, an almost 13 per cent discount on the official retail price.
Read: BlackBerry Priv prices fall within hours of UAE availability
However, such online retailers that are offering discounts on Priv may not necessarily be offering the Priv device with the local features such as an Arabic-enabled keyboard.
The Priv combines the best of BlackBerry (security) with the best of Android (user interface and an unparalleled network of apps) to offer fans the best of both worlds, says the firm.