BlackBerry unveils new ‘DTEK50’ Android smartphone

BlackBerry says it is launching a new smartphone, less than a year after releasing the Priv. Hnadout/BlackBerry

WATERLOO, Ont. – BlackBerry is launching a new Android smartphone, less than a year after releasing the BlackBerry Priv.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker claims the new DTEK50 smartphone is the “world’s most secure Android smartphone.” The phone will be entirely powered by Android’s Marshmallow 6.0 operating system ,but will feature special security features from BlackBerry.

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“We take our customers’ privacy seriously. That’s why we’re proud to have all the security and privacy functionality that’s built in our newest Android smartphone. DTEK50 merges the unique security and connectivity features BlackBerry is known for with the rich Android ecosystem,” said Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Devices, BlackBerry.

“DTEK50 adds to BlackBerry’s lineup of secure smartphones, providing choices to our customers with different price points on both BlackBerry 10 and Android platforms.”

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The company made the announcement Tuesday at its headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.

The phone has been designed to fend off cyberattacks with features such as built-in malware protection and encryption of all user information, according to BlackBerry. The phone is the company’s thinnest and has an on-screen keyboard – not its traditional keyboard. It will retail for C$429 and is available for pre-order online.

BlackBerry has faced calls to stop making smartphones because of disappointing sales and instead focus on its growing software business.

But CEO John Chen has so far shown no inclination to get out of the hardware business, having promised earlier this year to release two mid-range, Android-powered phones before the company’s fiscal year ends Feb. 28, 2017.

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The BlackBerry Priv, the company’s first Android-powered smartphone, was released in November 2015.

The Priv featured a nostalgic design featuring its famous QWERTY keyboard and a modified operating system to incorporate some of BlackBerry’s strengths.

– With files from Global News reporter Nicole Bogart


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