Upcoming Android phones

BlackBerry CEO tries to demo upcoming Android phone

blackberry-priv-demo.jpgBlackBerry CEO John Chen shows off the Priv's slider keyboard. Will that feature convince the BlackBerry faithful to try the phone? Business News Network

A BlackBerry demo that attempted to show off the company's upcoming Priv phone didn't go quite as smoothly as it could have.

In a brief video interview with Business News Network's Amber Kanwar, CEO John Chen revealed the Priv phone, the first BlackBerry phone to run Google's Android operating system. The move to Android represents a major shift for BlackBerry, which has consistently touted the security and other features of its BB operating system and devices. But with sales and market share at a low point, BlackBerry is now turning to Android in hopes of resuscitating consumer interest.

With little audience enthusiasm for the BlackBerry operating system, trying to branch out to Google's mobile OS isn't a bad idea. But a shift to Android on a single phone so far may not do much to beef up BlackBerry's mobile phone business at this point. Once a dominant force in the mobile phone market, especially among the enterprise crowd, BlackBerry has lost much of its business to players such as Apple and Samsung. Even corporations and government agencies have been jumping ship from BlackBerry to rival manufacturers.

Chen's demo itself proved problematic, almost symbolic of BlackBerry's own misfortunes at this point.

We do get to see the first public and up-close appearance of the Priv, which Chen explains stands for both privacy and privilege. The phone certainly looks sleek, with a large curved screen. But when Chen tries to use the phone, that's when the trouble starts. Opening Google Chrome takes several attempts before it finally pops up. And then when it does, we don't see much of anything as Chen says that "I have to set it up; this is a demo unit."

Chen then goes back to the main screen to "see if he can get anything." But at that point, he gives up on the demo, almost as if he's not quite sure what to show. We do learn that the phone sports a 5.5-inch screen and that it's BlackBerry's first one with a curved screen. Chen says the phone has the latest specs but doesn't go into any details about them.

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