BlackBerry’s John Chen gave a glimpse of what the company has planned for 2015 by showing off two new devices at a recent meeting, as CrackBerry discovered, and it seems physical QWERTY keyboards are very much a feature that BlackBerry feel is important to its users as the two yet-to-released devices — the BlackBerry Classic and the BlackBerry Passport — both prominently feature a physical keyboard
Little was revealed about the two new devices except that there will be colour options and a rich ecosystem of accessories developed for the Passport while the Classic doesn’t detract far from the Bold 9000.
So what do you think of the new BlackBerry devices?
As far as we can tell BlackBerry can make as many devices they want but without a proper drive to get developers on board, they’re not going to sell very many devices.
The BlackBerry Z3 that was initially developed specifically for the Indonesian market is coming to Malaysia based on the information we’ve gathered. BlackBerry Malaysia have scheduled for a media event on June 24 and a quick check in the SIRIM database revealed that the device has already been certified for use in Malaysia. We’ll be at the BlackBerry event next week to give you more details.
Announced at MWC 2014, the Z3 is a 5-inch full touch device made affordable. Selling for 2,199,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about RM621) in Indonesia, you can expect the device to be sold cheaper here in Malaysia as we don’t have heavy tariffs on electronics like Indonesia do.
Detailed specs include qHD (960×540) resolution display pushing 220ppi, a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm MSM8230 processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of on-board storage. There’s a rather large — considering the price point — 2,500mAh battery along with a micro USB port as standard. If you need more storage, the Z3 also comes with a microSD card expansion slot that support cards up to 32GB.
For taking pictures, there’s a 5MP rear camera that can do full HD 1080p video while the front you get a 1.1MP shooter that can do HD 720p videos. Being developed to meet a certain price range, the Z3 lacked LTE but you get WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC.
The BlackBerry Z3 device is now open for pre-orders in Indonesia. Codenamed Jakarta, the device offers a large 5″ full touch screen display at an affordable price of 2,199,000 Indonesian Rupiah (about RM621). It was initially announced during MWC 2014 and it was designed specifically for the Indonesian market.
While the Z3’s front 5″ display is similar in size with its larger Z30, it pushes a lower qHD resolution of 960×540. This gives a pixel density of 220ppi (pixels per inch). Powering the Z3 is a dual-core 1.2 GHz Qualcomm MSM8230 processor with 1.5GB of RAM and it comes with 8GB of on-board storage. It also gets a 2,500mAh battery which is pretty generous in this price range and there’s micro USB and micro HDMI ports as standard. If you need more storage, the Z3 also comes with a microSD card expansion slot that support cards up to 32GB capacity.
For taking pictures, the rear gets a 5MP camera which can shoot Full HD 1080p videos while the front settles for a 1.1MP shooter that can do HD 720p videos. Connectivity wise, it gets Wifi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC but lacks 4G LTE support. Overall it is 9.2mm thick and weighs 164 grams. As an early adopter, BlackBerry is releasing limited units of its Jakarta Edition which will come with “Jakarta” inscribed at the back cover.
The pre-order is offered through telcos Indosat and XL with availability expected on its official unveiling on 13th May 2014. So far there’s still no word if this You can view the full specs over at BlackBerry Z3 product page.
Indonesia used to be a stronghold for BlackBerry commanding about 43% of smart phones in the country according to IDC. With Android’s rapid accession, BlackBerry’s smart phone share in Indonesia fell to 14% in 2013. Apart from the Z3, BlackBerry is seen to be working on a cheap BlackBerry 10 QWERY device codenamed Kopi. Is having cheap BlackBerry 10 devices the answer to recover lost ground? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Check out more official images of the BlackBerry Z3 after the break.
BlackBerry is expected to release a new BlackBerry 10.3 software update which brings a couple of new features and UI enhancements. To demonstrate the new revisions, N4BB has recorded a quick hands-on preview of an early 10.3 Build running on a BlackBerry Z10.
The new BlackBerry 10.3 has a number of UI revisions including a flatter UI design and the home screen icons are now displayed without the typical grey boxes behind it. The camera interface gets a major revamp with a new camera timer, panorama photo mode and an option to shoot a 60fps video at 720p resolution. There’s also a new Automatic Stories feature that creates highlight clips with photos taken at the same location. This is somewhat similar to HTC’s Zoe highlight videos.
Also new is a voice assistant called Intelligent Assistant. While we are curious to find out how it compares against Cortana and the rest, unfortunately it refuses to work in video.
Watch the hands-on demo of Blackberry 10.3 after the break.
Struggling BlackBerry is on a roll to introduce smart phones at lower price segments. During MWC 2014, they had announced the BlackBerry Z3 which is supposed to be an affordable touch screen BlackBerry 10 device for the Indonesian market. Sometime last year, we’ve seen a purported entry-level QWERTY based BlackBerry device codename “Kopi” but we haven’t heard much about it for a long time. Initially it was suspected that the device got canned after John Chen took over as CEO.
Now it appears that the device might be coming out after all with fresh leaks of the device and a side by side comparison with its BlackBerry Q5 sibling. The leak images came from Vietnam, where surprisingly its tech sites seems to be able to grab hold of unreleased devices lately. The all black colour device shown above is the current BlackBerry Q5 while the other unit with a Silver frame is the new unreleased “Kopi”.
With both side by side, the new Kopi appears to be more upmarket with a contrasting colours on the frame and a textured back. Size wise, it is quite similar with the Q5. This raises a question, whether the new BlackBerry Kopi is a new low-cost device or could it be a replacement model instead? Currently the BlackBerry Q5 which comes with 4G LTE support is priced at RM818. For those seeking a high-end QWERTY smart phone, Blackberry also had announced its large screen BlackBerry Q20 but that’s only coming on the 2nd half of this year.
Check out more images of the BlackbBerry Kopi after the break.
The yet to be launched BlackBerry Z3 has appeared side by side with its high-end BlackBerry Z10 and Z30 siblings. The picture of the 3 devices above came from our local GengBBM and it is unknown if this was taken in Malaysia. From the comparison, the Z3 is about the same size as the top of the range Z30, which is no surprise considering both are having 5″ displays.
Codenamed Jakarta, the BlackBerry Z3 is said to be having a 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor with 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The front 5″ display pushes a lower qHD resolution of 960×540 pixels, while imaging is taken care of by a 5MP main and 1.1MP front camera. Since this is a budget device, it lacks 4G LTE connectivity. The BlackBerry Z3 is expected to be launched in Indonesia this month with a low price tag below US$200 (less than RM700).
The BlackBerry Z10 4G LTE version is currently priced at RM818, which is less than half its original price 6 months ago. It is yet to be seen if a phone that’s a few hundred ringgit cheaper would change things for the struggling smart phone maker.
Head after the break for hands-on pics of the BlackBerry Z3 from Crackberry
The last BlackBerry 10.2.1 update for BlackBerry 10 devices had brought major changes with improved usability and support for Android APK files. Now a newer OS update that carries the version number 10.3 is on its way. While the increment in number looks big, the changes are rather subtle compared to the previous update.
Some of the new changes on the BlackBery 10.3 version include:
The 10.3 software update for the BlackBerry Z10 has been leaked out. If you’re adventurous, you can download it now which is about 1.6GB in size. To install, you may follow the step by step instructions over here.
Head after the break for more additional screenshots taken from the BlackBerry 10.3 OS.
Apple claims CarPlay, its in-car infotainment system, is like “iOS in a car” but unbeknownst to many CarPlay doesn’t run on iOS at all.
The CarPlay system uses Siri extensively to communicate with the driver allowing you to control run applications, control playlists and receive notifications hand-free. Naturally for the system to work, you will have to connect CarPlay to an iPhone or iPad and while it interfaces with iOS devices, CarPlay runs on QNX, an operating system owned by BlackBerry and is the base of the BlackBerry 10 operating system. Apple is even listed as a strategic partner in automotive on QNX’s website.
So why not iOS in CarPlay? A simple assumption, the iOS is Apple’s mobile platform and CarPlay is not a part of that. Instead, CarPlay suplements iOS devices allowing users to extend the capabilities of the iPhone and iPad into the car.
But why QNX? Well it’s the natural choice for such an advance in-car infotainment system — that’s QNX’s forte. Before being re-purposed into a mobile operating system by BlackBerry, QNX was specifically developed as a powerful and flexible operating system for embedded devices like in-car entertainment systems.
BlackBerry may be struggling in the mobile space but in Apple’s CarPlay, the once leader in smartphones, finds an unlikely success story.
Head on over to after the jump to see Volvo’s installation of CarPlay in their cars.
In addition to the Q20, BlackBerry announced a new smartphone developed specifically for the Indonesian market. A result of a strategic partnership with device manufacturer, Foxconn, to keep costs low, the BlackBerry Z3 will feature a 5-inch touchscreen display, run on BlackBerry 10.2.1 and feature customised local apps. While other specifications like battery, camera and processor have not been revealed during the announcement detailed leaked images of the Z3 have already surfaced on the internet.
While BlackBerry is optimistic of the Z3’s performance, it has a mountain to climb in Indonesia, a market where it used to enjoy a cult following. In 2011, BlackBerry accounted for 43% of the Indonesian smartphone market, according to IDC. But the market has shifted quickly toward Android devices and by 2013, BlackBerry’s share of the Indonesian market had dwindled to 14% while Android’s market exploded to 81%.
The BlackBerry Z3 is expected to be available in Indonesia in April. Further details on pricing and availability will be announced at launch.
BlackBerry believes a physical QWERTY keyboard and trackpad will give the brand the competitive edge as it struggles to return to relevancy in an industry that it pioneered not too long ago.
The new device — called the BlackBerry Q20 — will be easy to operate with one hand and feature ‘Menu’, ‘Back’, ‘Send’ and ‘End’ buttons along with a QWERTY keyboard and the trademark integrated trackpad that once made BlackBerry a dominant smartphone brand. BlackBerry say the move to develop a high-end QWERTY device was the result of feedback from “millions of passionate QWERTY customers around the world”. The Q20 will also feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen — the largest ever fitted on a QWERTY BlackBerry smartphone — and will be made from premium materials and designed for reliability and durability.
From cheap QWERTY phones to full touchscreen phones to ultra-expensive limited edition phones, BlackBerry have experimented with almost everything in an attempt to turn its fortunes around but nothing seem to be working. In fact things could be getting worse as the brand continue to loose critical market share in emerging Asian markets like Indonesia where it was once dominant.
Primarily targeted at business users, it’s going to be interesting to see if BlackBerry’s strategy to return back to its root with the Q20 will improve the brand’s troubling financial performance.