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BlackBerry Takes Orders for Android-Based Priv Phone

A month after BlackBerry confirmed that it would produce an Android-based device, we finally have a price tag for the BlackBerry Priv — and the ability to order the long-awaited smartphone.

BlackBerry started taking preorders today (Oct. 23) for the Priv, a phone that's seeming spent as much time in the rumor mill as it has in development. In the U.S., you can place an order for the $699 unlocked BlackBerry Priv at BlackBerry's online store. The phone is slated to ship on Nov. 6. In addition to the U.S., the Priv also is available for pre-order in the U.K. (£559) and Canada ($899) with more countries to come, BlackBerry says.

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That $699 price tag puts the Priv in line with other flagship smartphones such as the $649 iPhone 6s from Apple and the $700 Galaxy Note 5 phablet from Samsung. It's a little less than Galaxy S6 Edge Plus ($780) or the iPhone 6s Plus ($749). It's also less than the $749 price tag BlackBerry briefly posted on its website earlier this week.

The Priv comes with 32GB of storage, plus a microSD slot that can bump storage up to 2TB. The phone has a 5.4-inch dual-curved screen and a 18-megapixel camera. BlackBerry is promising 22.5 hours of battery life. And, as you'd expect from BlackBerry, the Priv features a slide-out keyboard.

Note that Priv you can preorder is a GSM phone, so it's not compatible with the CDMA-based networks of Verizon and Sprint.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen confirmed the existence of the BlackBerry Priv back in September, saying at the time that the phone would bring "the best of BlackBerry security and productivity" to the Android operating system.

In promoting the phone, the company is playing up security features like Blackberry DTEK, which reveals which apps on the phone can access your personal data while also assessing the overall security of your device.

BlackBerry once dominated the mobile device world, but saw its grip on the market wane as Apple and Google came out with more consumer-friendly devices that attracted developers to the iOS and Android platforms. Making a phone that runs Android gives BlackBerry the opportunity to offer a device with greater app selection, which could broaden the appeal of the company's phones.