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Blackberry DTEK50; The “world’s most secure android device” and the exclusion of Africa

July 28, 2016 · 3 min read
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With the release of the Blackberry DTEK50, also known as Blackberry Neon, the rumours of three mystery Android devices from Blackberry have been confirmed.

The BlackBerry DTEK50 is the Canadian manufacturer’s recent attempt at taking a stronger foothold in the crowded space of Android smartphones and with its specifications, it is obvious that BlacBberry is striving to save a drowning brand.

The device has a 5.2-inch full HD display, runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor with 3 GB RAM and 16 GB internal storage with an expandable capacity for up to 2 TB memory card all powered by 2,610 mAh  battery.

The camera is 13 MP auto-focus in the back and  8 MP for selfies. There are even additional features that BlackBerry claims sets this one apart; a smudge-resistant screen that makes it impossible for hackers to steal your password.

And BlackBerry DTEK50, also known as the BlackBerry Neon, wears a custom Android user interface it claims can increase productivity.

Blackberry-DTEK50 UI
The custom user interface of the Blackberry Neon

With a thickness of 7.14 mm, the BlackBerry Neon is unarguably BlackBerry’s slimmest phone ever with the trademark customizable key by the side.

Nearly razor-thin, the Blackberry Neon.

Weighing in at 135 grams even increases its size consciousness and ups the impressive specs a notch or two.

Security claims

As for laying claims to being the world’s most secure Android device, the BlackBerry Neon is equipped with a hardened Linux kernel and a more secure bootloader.

padlock-broken

Full disk encryption, hardware root of trust with better track keys and plenty jargons translating to the fact that BlackBerry replicated its signature secure systems on the BlackBerry Neon as it did with the BlackBerry Priv. So yes the claims may be correct. And the DTEK — BlackBerry’s custom security application –is working its supposed backdoor security magic.

Price and the African market

Statistically, BlackBerry ranked the Middle East and Africa as their largest markets, but even with the figures staring us in the face, Africa — especially West Africa and Nigeria — is unarguably the money spinner.

The Middle East — with reference to Dubai in particular — is a luxury market that consumes premium goods, so devices like the over $2,000 BlackBerry Porsche had a field day in Dubai. But the large numbers were in Africa, we do not need any figures to tell this as the evidence is in the hundreds of these devices still available; I owned three of them at one time.

Blackberry Neon

With BlackBerry’s recent troubles and woes, I expected Africa to be their first port of call in the drive towards getting a footing on the Android market and redeeming a battered image.


Suggested read; The BlackBerry story keeps rolling down the hill


But the with an initial release price of $299 for the BlackBerry Neon, which translates to ₦94,000 in the current exchange rate, I seriously doubt this. Even the impressive aforementioned specs are not worth that much considering the fact OEMs and new entrants into the market are selling cheaper mid-range devices these days.

Even its predecessor the BlackBery Priv that currently retails for  ₦205,000 in SLOT stores did not do very well in these economic climes because of price factors.

The BlackBerry priv, the first Android-powered smartphone
The BlackBerry Priv, the first Android-powered smartphone

The efforts by BlackBerry to re-enter the market is laudable considering the BlackBerry DTEK50 — its custom Android security system– and the move to impress with the brilliant specs, but if Africa as a former leader in their market is not considered then the drive to re-integrate #TeamBlackberry will be hampered.

Victor Ekwealor

Victor Ekwealor

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tech. media. startups. africa. vc | Twitter: @victor_ekwealor

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