BlackBerry Ltd.: How the Priv Compares to Samsung’s Latest Phones

BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) is competing against Samsung by developing an Android phone. So, who’s most likely to win?

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BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB)(NASDAQ:BBRY) continues to release more details about its upcoming Android device, the Priv. We even now have some pricing information, at least in the United Kingdom.

So, how does the Priv stack up, and does the phone have a good chance of commercial success?


BlackBerry Priv Samsung Galaxy S6 32MB Advantage
Price (U.K.) £580 £479 Samsung
Screen size 5.4 inches 5.1 inches BlackBerry
Pixels/Inch 504 577 Samsung
Rear-facing camera 18 MP 15 MP BlackBerry
Battery 3,410 mAh 2,500 mAh BlackBerry
Weight 192g 138g Samsung


Some enticing features

While giving a (very awkward) demonstration of the Priv, BlackBerry CEO John Chen promised that the phone would feature “the latest specs.” Now we have a better idea what he meant.

To start, BlackBerry has mounted a mammoth 3,410 mAh battery on the Priv. This dwarfs the 2,500 mAh battery on the S6, and is roughly double what you would get with the iPhone 6s. We don’t yet know how this will translate into battery life, but it looks like BlackBerry will preserve its reputation for long-lasting devices.

Furthermore, the Priv will feature an 18 MP rear-facing camera, which is, once again, better than any Android or iPhone models. Without a doubt, BlackBerry is going all-in on this device.

Some important weaknesses

BlackBerry devices are well known to emphasize work over play, and the Priv will be no exception.

The camera is a perfect example. While you can take very high definition shots with the phone, the front-facing camera is only two MP. Meanwhile, the S6 features a five MP camera, as do the iPhone 6s models. This likely makes the Priv unsuitable for video calling (as well as selfies).

The keyboard is another example. While it does make long emails faster to write, it’s not necessarily suitable for shorter text messages. It also makes the Priv much heavier—just to set some context, the Priv weighs more than the Samsung Galaxy Note 5, even though the latter features a massive screen.

Most importantly, the Priv has a premium price of £580 in the U.K., and will most likely be highly priced in other countries as well. Corporate customers may not care so much, especially given BlackBerry’s sterling reputation of securing phones. But the Priv may be priced entirely out of the consumer market, which means the phone can only sell so well.

Don’t forget about the brand

At the end of the day, shoppers tend to gravitate towards winning brands, and this is not good news for BlackBerry. Put simply, the logo on the back of the phone may be the biggest factor holding sales back.

So, if you’re a BlackBerry shareholder, you shouldn’t get your hopes too high. A handset renaissance won’t be happening anytime soon for the company.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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