Canadians interested in trying out the BlackBerry PRIV – the vendor’s first smartphone powered by the Android OS – will soon have their chance. The PRIV is now available for preorders.

Waterloo, Ont.-based BlackBerry also launched a ship date for the PRIV of November 6, so retail availability should be expected around the same time.

It will be the first BlackBerry smartphone to run an operating system other than the vendor’s own BlackBerry OS. Because of the relatively small base of BlackBerry customers, most developers have preferred to develop apps for the more popular Android and IoS platforms. This has cost BlackBerry customers that value a wide selection of smartphone apps. BlackBerry has tried to address this by allowing Android apps available through Amazon’s apps to run on BlackBerry 10.

The PRIV will take this one step further, marrying BlackBerry’s hardware and security and privacy features with the Android OS and all the apps available through Google Play, the Android app store.

“BlackBerry is the most trusted maker of secure hardware and software in the world today. World leaders, government agencies and the biggest businesses depend on us. I committed that we would release an Android phone only if we could make it secure – today is that day,” said BlackBerry CEO John Chen in a statement on Friday. “I’m proud to announce the world’s first BlackBerry smartphone powered by Android built to Protect Your Privacy, available for pre-order today.”

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The device features DTEKTM, a warning system app that lets you know when your privacy could be at risk. The smartphone itself has a 5.4” dual-curved screen with a slide-out physical keyboard and an 18-megapixel camera.

According to BlackBerry, the PRIV is designed for smartphone users that aren’t satisfied with the privacy features of their current devices, as well as former BlackBerry users that left for more app choice but miss BlackBerry’s physical qwerty keyboard.

Canadians can now preorder the BlackBerry PRIV from ShopBlackBerry.com, priced at $899. Rogers is also accepting reservations in Canada.

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  • Rajesh

    It’s $699, not $899

    • Tooright

      It’s $899 in Canada, according to the Blackberry website.

    • US$699, but CDN$899, per BlackBerry’s press release.

  • wes

    it has a launch date