Last year's Classic and Passport phones showed that BlackBerry has both an affinity for the old times and a willingness to push its operating system onto new forms - but for its next move, the company is trying a different approach.
And that approach is using Android instead of its own BlackBerry 10 OS. Today, the company confirmed that the frequently-leaked slider phone (see above and below), officially called the BlackBerry Priv - earlier known by its Venice codename - is real and headed to consumers sometime later this year.
According to a statement in its latest financial report, the Priv "[brings] together the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform." In other words, it has BlackBerry's enterprise security software to appease businesses, but it has the Play Store so you actually have some decent apps and games to play.
BlackBerry calls the Priv a "flagship slider device," and aside from the slide-out full QWERTY keyboard, the phone was rumoured in July to have a 5.4in Quad HD display with a Snapdragon 808 chip, 3GB RAM, an 18-megapixel back camera, and a 5MP selfie shooter. Indeed, those are mostly flagship specs - and you've never seen a slider phone with components like that.
The Priv will be out late this year, but despite the move to Android, BlackBerry claims its own OS isn't dead in the water. The company says it "remains committed" to BlackBerry 10, and that a version 10.3.3 update with security and privacy tweaks will release in March 2016. (Just not for the Priv.)