BlackBerry Priv reviews are bad—is this death for Chen’s biz?

The BlackBerry Priv reviews are in. Some are qualified raves, but many are harsh rants. Can’t BlackBerry catch a break?

While most love the Canadian Android smartphone’s big battery and some of the apps, reviewers say the laggy, buggy software’s not yet ready for prime time. Surprisingly, the slider keyboard gets some harsh criticism, too. Many question the asking price.

It’s worrying for the future of BlackBerry: CEO John Chen implied last month that the Priv may be the handset business’s last chance to survive.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers grow the flowers for BBRY’s grave. Not to mention: A Fallout 4 special

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.[Developing story: Updated 7:48 am PT with more comment and a clarification of Chen’s implication]

In reviewing the new device, Joanna is Stern: BlackBerry’s story now reads like a Shakespearean tragedy. … Once-dominant, [it] doesn’t even hold 1% of the world-wide market now. … [But] the Priv’s slide-out physical keyboard, long battery life and focus on privacy—hence the dumb name—stand apart. … But despite its quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM, there were spots where the phone was inexcusably slow. … Updates to apps and the operating system improved some of the performance glitches. … In the area of user privacy, a point of pride so significant [it’s] in the phone’s name…the efforts don’t run very deep.  MOREAnd Andrew Orlowski does his usual harshly-critical schti… Oh, no, wait: If somebody told you six months ago that…BlackBerry would produce a contender for ‘Phone of the Year’, you’d assume they were totally deluded. … But, amazingly…BlackBerry’s new Priv is the real deal. … Slider phones have their ancestry in the two-way pager era. [They] were basically two fat slabs stapled together. [But] the guts of the Priv appear to disappear inside the display. It’s a very clever…design. … Microsoft users who’ve been stiffed by [its] appalling recent Android software…take heart here: I could use all my Outlook calendars (and Exchange groups) without needing Microsoft Outlook.… It may be a “Hail Mary” pass, but BlackBerry’s arrival on Android adds bags of choice and maturity to the platform.  MOREOh! I hear Steve O’Hear has been at the dictionary again: [You’re fired -Ed.]‘Priv’ might also stand for privative, denoting the absence or loss of an attribute. … I can’t quite put my finger on [it], but I’m sure it has something to do with the Priv’s physical keyboard. … [It] feels clunky and I found my hands tiring more quickly than I expected. … That’s a shame since I really like the way the physical keyboard on the Priv is touch enabled. … You can also map specific keys to quickly launch applications or actions. … You can’t get any more different than a physical QWERTY, even if I can’t help thinking this will deter as many people as it will entice. [It’s] almost entirely redundant.  MOREMeanwhile, Daniel Cooper barrels along towards the elephant in the room: BlackBerry is probably done as a phone manufacturer. [The CEO] pledged to shut down the division if it doesn’t turn a profit by 2016. … Almost no Android manufacturer seems to be able to turn a decent profit. … Android alone can’t save the company.  MOREIn a similar vein, Abdulla from Bahrain brings us back to Earth with a meh: It’s a Blackberry phone. You know, from a company that probably will stop making phones in a few months. … Is there some assurance this phone will work without any issues for 1 or 2 years? … Really skeptical this thing will be successful considering it’s $700.  MOREUpdate: Mark Walton says goodnight: This is it. The last hurrah. The all-in…last-ditch attempt to save a company. … It is with great sadness, then, that I must report that the Priv doesn’t quite hit the mark. … The sliding mechanism itself is smooth and solid. … The only disappointment is that sliding the phone open doesn’t directly answer a phone call. … When you gently press on the back of the Priv, the backplate flexes and moves…not something you’d expect from a phone that costs…$699. … The Priv sports a huge 3410mAh battery…but for me, the Priv was out of juice by around 10 in the evening. … The headphone amp is terrible [which] sounds like nitpicking, but…the Priv needs to do better.  MORE

itbwafAnd Finally… A Fallout 4 special (Dan Bull ft. Custom Phase)

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