Back in 2015, I mocked a cringeworthy product demo by BlackBerry’s CEO of the Priv, the company’s first Android-powered device.
Judging by the feedback I received on YouTube, BlackBerry fanboys hated my mickey-taking of the Priv, but to be fair – I liked BlackBerry’s stated intention to focus on privacy and security.
The Priv, we were told, was going to be different from Android devices made by other manufacturers because of this.
Well, as The Register reports, maybe the BlackBerry Priv isn’t going to be so different after all.
Having been promised “the most secure Android”, BlackBerry loyalists have seen the promise of monthly security updates stutter recently, with distribution of the monthlies getting patchy (no pun intended).
General manager for mobile software at BlackBerry Alex Thurber confirmed that the aging Priv would not receive Nougat (2016) or Oreo (2017) updates, and couldn’t commit that what he called “transitional” devices such as the more modern DTEK50 and DTEK60 would be on the platform upgrade path to Android N or O.
Speaking about the Priv, Thurber told a mobile fan podcast: “It’s a phone we originally brought out two years ago and in the world of mobile telephones – trying to get a lot of different partners who are involved (a lot comes down to drivers, screen drivers and radio drivers) … to agree to transition to N would not be possible,” he said.
As The Register notes, Samsung doesn’t seem to have had any problems pushing out an Android Nougat (version 7) update to Samsung Galaxy S6 owners – despite that device being launched six months before the Priv.
I’m concerned that there are still so many Android devices out there, and still being actively sold in some cases, which are running out-of-date versions of the Android operating system with no easy path for patching.
I wouldn’t call that even half-decent security.