We knew BlackBerry’s Android slider phone would be expensive, but at least the Priv isn’t as pricey as it could have been.
BlackBerry started taking preorders for the phone Friday, but at $699, not the $749 price some had feared. That puts the device in the same ballpark as an unsubsidized iPhone or Samsung Galaxy and gives the phone a fighting chance if high-end phone buyers find they like the design and value the security and privacy features BlackBerry has added to Google’s Android.
As for those features, the Priv will pack a 5.4-inch dual-curved screen and an 18-megapixel camera as well as a feature designed to warn users when their privacy could be at risk. And, because it uses the Google-sanctioned flavor of Android, it will come with all of their apps along with the Google Play store.
That $699 sticker price shouldn’t come as a surprise, with CEO John Chen saying at Code/Mobile to expect a premium price.
“What I’m doing [is] taking advantage of what the industry can offer, but not wandering off our core strength,” Chen said at the conference. “I’m in the handset business because I believe there’s value added and a market that is underserved.”
That said, the pressure is on for the phone to be a hit, with Chen having made it clear that his patience for losing money on making phones has come to an end. Chen said the hardware business needs to be making money by next year or BlackBerry will have to consider a Plan B.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.