With all the popularity iPhones and Android phones have gathered over the past few years, BlackBerry is having a pretty hard time regaining traction. Things could very well change with their latest device, the BlackBerry Priv.
So far, the Priv received good reviews and it does have potential. It has the robustness and privacy features BlackBerry has gotten us used to, the physical keyboard that’s a classic BlackBerry signature and one more incredibly important thing: Android apps.
The device itself may be difficult to acquire during the next coming months, but what you can get right now is its Android apps. As long as you have a device running Android 5.0.1 or newer and “Unknown sources” turned on you can get Priv’s calendar, keyboard and launcher. You won’t be able to use all the features these apps offer without a Priv, but it is nice you can try them without the actual device.
The calendar offers a nicely organized view of your agenda and schedule, and setting up new meetings, events and appointments is as easy as can be. When you create new appointments, the app offers you the option to see conflicts and adjacent events. There’s also a search tool you can use to quickly find events by various criteria, specifically subject, location, participants and notes.
BlackBerry Hub is needed for replying to meeting invitations directly and without the Priv you won’t be able to fully use the calendar. Still, the calendar is quite functional even without the device and definitely worth a try.
Opinions are mixed regarding Priv’s physical keyboard – some are complaining it’s too small. Luckily, it also has a touch-based keyboard and you can try the app on your Android device as well.
Some features you may be used to having, like trace typing and multilingual support, are not present. Nevertheless, it does have some useful capabilities worthy of attention like text prediction – this aims to speed up typing by allowing you to swipe up on the predicted words the app displays.
Another interesting thing about Priv’s keyboard app is it adapts to your personal style over time, and you can manage your custom dictionary, as well as word substitution from its settings.
BlackBerry Launcher is based on the Google Now Launcher, but on top of that it has some extra features like changing icon packs, the option to create one-tap shortcuts for essential tasks and an app drawer. And that’s reason enough to give it a try.
It’s obvious Priv’s apps are not exactly capable of becoming your daily drivers, at least not without the Priv device. Even so, they do offer a simple way of taking a peak at what the BlackBerry Priv has to offer and take you one step closer to making an informed decision if you ever decide to make the switch.