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BlackBerry Android Keyboard Phone Is Official

Render of the Android-based BlackBerry Priv, Image: EvLeaks/Twitter

Render of the Android-based BlackBerry Priv, Image: EvLeaks/Twitter

If you've been holding your breath waiting for the long-rumored Android-based Blackberry device to become a reality, you can finally exhale and breathe a sigh of relief. BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed that the device is more than just a rumor: it will be called the Blackberry Priv, a slider device that the company expects to be "available late in the calendar year."

Chen explained that the device's name is rooted in the company's history, "named after BlackBerry's heritage and core mission of protecting our customers' privacy." The CEO went on to promise that the Priv "combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform."

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The above render has been floating around online and matches up well with the rumors of a curved screen that's similar to the Samsung Galaxy Edge devices. The below photos – which first appeared on the Vietnam-based technology website Tinhte – appear to show a working Priv seen in the wild.

Image: Tinhte

Image: Tinhte

On the same conference call where Chen confirmed the Priv, the company also reviewed its acquisitions of Good Technology and AtHoc, both of which work in securing mobile data across the entire spectrum of platforms. Adding those company's technologies to BlackBerry points to an intent to make sure messaging on the Priv and future BlackBerry devices is as secure as possible.

Baking Android and its app ecosystems into its devices is seen by some as a way for BlackBerry to regain some of its clout in the mobile device market. As Android and iOS devices have dominated sales, those devices became the de facto platforms for third party developers apps.

While there are already a wide variety of Android devices already for sale, BlackBerry devices have one advantage over them all: the physical keyboards that some users believe are better or more enjoyable than their touch screen brethren.