These scares includes the latest malicious software identified in August 2016, which potentially could affect up to 900 million Android smartphones, taking control of them through malicious software in hidden in app downloads.
For those who are concerned about this latest threat to their Android smartphone, remember that this malicious software can only be installed on your phone if you enable ‘unknown sources’ and manually install an app for another source, other than Google Play.
There is more good news for BlackBerry and Android enthusiasts as BlackBerry will be launching the BlackBerry DTEK50 at a price that is much lower than the price tag given to BlackBerry’s last smartphone, the BlackBerry Priv.
|BlackBerry Priv review|
The key selling point of the BlackBerry DTEK50 is its security but this isn’t the only thing that will attract buyers and we will mention those later on in this news report.
Security can be complicated but BlackBerry has focused on ensuring that the user interface removes those complications from their view.
Firstly, the security software that is pre-loaded monitors the actions of the operating system and apps. This background action, which the user is unaware of, only becomes apparent when the software lets the user know that a risk has been identified. The security software then prompts the user with what action to take.
Working hand-in-hand with this security feature, is a simple-at-a-glance graphic that can be viewed to see the overall security rating. The graphic is colour-coded (green, amber and red) and this identifies whether the security status is excellent, fair or poor. At a glimpse, the user can see the level of risk, as assessed by the DTEK50, and carry out the actions required to bring security back to 100% effective.
As mentioned above, the BlackBerry DTEK50 will track the actions of apps and notify the user if suspicious actions are being taken. These suspicious actions could be when someone or an app is taking a video or picture without your knowledge, when someone is trying to send a malicious text, when your microphone is being turned on without your permission or when someone is trying to access your contacts or location.
On other Android smartphones, it may be possible for malicious individuals to steel your banking information, through a NFC ‘bump’. To protect against this the BlackBerry DTEK50 uses encryption to protect bank information and sensitive data, which also protects the data if the phone is lost or stolen.
The BlackBerry Password Keeper can be used to further secure all passwords and log in information used on the device.
The level of security and malware protection is unparalleled and it is designed to stay so. BlackBerry holds the record for providing the quickest security patches, where other smartphone owners may need to wait weeks, months or years for a security patch. It is this that makes the BlackBerry DTEK50 the UK’s most secure Android smartphone.
While security is essential on your smartphone it probably isn’t the most interesting topic to read about or likely to make you purchase one Android smartphone over another. That is unless you are a professional using Enterprise software.
Instead it is the apps and features that will drive sales and interest. Luckily for the DTEK50 there are a number of BlackBerry-made apps that make the DTEK50 stand out, next to its competition.
The first innovation tackles the practicality of widgets. Widgets on Android smartphones are a standout feature that enables the user to see information instantly, without having to open an app. However, there is only so much room on those home screen pages to place these, making their overall practicality limited.
The BlackBerry Pop-Up Widgets provide a nice solution to this and instead of having a widget taking up permanent space on the home screen, the widgets are made accessible as a pop-up. To see a widget, the user needs only to swipe upwards or downwards over an apps icon on the home screen and then widget information is shown. This places the widget information of all apps close to hand, making them quickly accessible when you need them.
The BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard is the next standout feature and because this is a full-touch smartphone, it pops up when needed as a virtual keyboard. We have seen Android smartphones using intelligent learning before and the BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard follows suit, but also develops upon this tactic.
The keyboard learns the words you type most often, which then allows it to give word suggestions that become more and more relevant to the individual user, as time goes by.
The innovation comes in with the option to use prediction with up to 3 languages at once. Backing up these BlackBerry innovations is the option to type using seamless flow typing or screen flick typing. In addition to this, contextual auto-correction saves a heap of time and removes the need to correct spelling mistakes, when typing out important emails or social posts.
The BlackBerry Convenience Key, located on the side of the phone, tackles some of the issues of efficiency. The button is fully customisable by the user and when pressed it can give quick access to the user’s choice of apps or regularly performed tasks.
The BlackBerry Convenience Key can also be pressed during a phone call and this will discretely mute the microphone.
The BlackBerry Hub has always been one of the most attractive features of BlackBerry smartphones and it is employed once again on the DTEK50. The Hub consolidates all messages into unified inbox and this includes SMS messages, emails, social notifications, phone calls and triggered calendar items.
The convenience of this should not be undervalued and once experienced, users will find it hard to imagine living without it.
Folders certainly have their place on desktops and laptops but they don’t necessarily work so well on smartphone-sized devices. Anyone who has been frustrated trying to find a document, file or screenshot in the past, will greatly benefit from being able to make a device-wide search.
We have taken a look at the major announcements released by BlackBerry on the DTEK50. Now we take a look at the specifications released by BlackBerry, to see if they are comparable to other Android smartphones.
The 5.2” display is sized to attract all, as it is conveniently sized between those looking for smaller 5” smartphones and those looking for larger 5.5” smartphones. The display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is up there with the best at 424 pixels per inch.
The display is crucially scratch-resistant and a special oleophobic coating has been applied in an effort to reduce the number of fingerprint smudges. The 16:9 aspect ration has been used to ensure that media can be enjoyed at a size that it was designed for.
The BlackBerry DTEX50 is available in the UK with a 16GB Flash memory, which is pretty typical for Android smartphones released in 2016. Most owners will probably never need more memory than this but this BlackBerry smartphone has a hot swappable microSD card slot that supports microSD cards with any value up to 2TB.
BlackBerry will be shipping the phone with a 2,610mAh battery, which is also fairly typical for mid-range smartphones. The battery is non-removable, which will disappoint some BlackBerry enthusiasts, but charging is however a short affair with a very precise 50 percent charge achievable in 51 minutes.
Under a typical mixed usage scenario, users can expect to get 17 hours of use. If we look at individual actions, then we find that the battery will be able to play music for up to 40 hours, play video for up to 8 hours, hold a call for up to 17 hours or provide standby for up to 24 days.
The 64-bit 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 3GB RAM will be powerful enough to handle multitasking and 3D games.
The BlackBerry DTEK50 has a main 13 megapixel auto-focus camera and to get good results it employs the latest camera technologies. This includes Phase Detect Auto Focus, fast focus lock, HDR, enhanced photo colour balancing with a dual-tone LED flash, 4x digital zoom, burst shot, multi-frame low light enhancements and live filters. In addition to this, the camera can record video at a quality of 1080p at 30 frames per second.
The 8 megapixel secondary camera has an 84-degrees wide angle lens, image and video stabilisation, live colour filters and a Wide Selfie/Selfie Panorama mode.
BlackBerry is making a big point that this smartphone runs on Android, following the decline in popularity of its own BlackBerry OS.
The Android Marshmallow operating system delivers Google’s most popular apps and this includes Gmail, Google Chrome, Hangouts, Google Drive, YouTube, Google Maps, Messenger, Google Photos and Google Play.
|Android Marshmallow features|
BlackBerry has announced that the DTEK50 will use the Google Now voice assistant, dropping support for the very similar BlackBerry Assistant. The Google Now voice assistant can do almost anything imaginable from setting reminders to adding calendar events and making Google Voice Searches.
Further interactive and intuitive Google features can also be used, such as Now on Tap. This feature works on almost any screen and is activated with a long press on the home key.
Now on Tap will then scan the content of the page in order to provide a pop-up that is populated with icon-based links. Examples includes a link to show a 360 degree tour of a hotel or location that is mentioned on the page, a link to restaurant reviews, YouTube videos and so on.
Overall, the BlackBerry DTEK50 has what it takes to succeed but we are yet to see if it can create a reemergence of interest in BlackBerry devices.
Written by: Michael Brown