BlackBerry has yet to find a home amongst the iPhone and popular Android phones, with sales plummeting over the last couple years, but this might be a thing of the past thanks to their latest device, the BlackBerry Priv. It has decent numbers so far and was even sold out on Amazon shortly after its initial release.
Whether or not BlackBerry can save itself still remains to be seen, but reviews of the Priv have been optimistic, and even T-Mobile's CEO said they were on a comeback. Plus, it's their first model powered by Android, something they should have done a long time ago.
A favorite amongst business professionals, BlackBerry offers privacy, sturdiness (my Curve survived a tumble down a staircase), and a physical keyboard that die-hards adore. And while you may not want to actually get a Priv, you can at least try out some of its apps to see if it's something you might be interested in later.
To get the Priv's calendar, keyboard, and launcher, and all you need is Android 5.0.1 or above and "Unknown sources" enabled on your phone. Once the files are downloaded, just tap on their notification (or on the file from a file manager) and follow the installation instructions.
Although you'll need BlackBerry Hub in order to directly respond to meeting invitations, the BlackBerry Calendar does offer a refreshing view of your schedule and agenda that makes management of appointments and meetings easy. The app lets you view conflicts and adjacent events when creating a new appointment, and you're provided with a search function that allows you to find events by subject, location, participants, or notes.
You'll want the Priv to take full advantage of the calendar, like using Google Now and voice commands to create events, but this does grant a nice little preview of what to expect.
You can get the Hub, as well as untouched APKs, using this link, but you will need to be rooted and uninstall any unpatched BlackBerry apps before trying to install. More info can be found at Xaiux's post on XDA.
While the Priv does have a physical keyboard, it also includes a digital one that you can try out now. Although trace typing and additional languages won't be supported with this download, it will let you take advantage of text prediction, which makes typing faster by swiping up on the predicted words presented on the keyboard.
The keyboard also adapts to your style the more you use it, and other basic preferences can be modified from the app's settings, like your personal dictionary and word substitution.
The BlackBerry Launcher is essentially a clone of the Google Now Launcher but with additional features, like turning common tasks into one-tap shortcuts, the ability to change icon packs, and an app drawer which makes locating specific apps a little faster.
While these apps may not replace the ones you're currently using on your Android, the preview might be enough to endure you to BlackBerry's first foray into the world of Android. Are these apps and the Priv itself enough to save BlackBerry? Sound off in the comment section below.
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