It seems BlackBerry have gone back to its roots, design wise, with their upcoming device, the BlackBerry Vienna. Renders of what looks to be BlackBerry’s second Android device have found their way on the Internet and they are interesting, to say the least.
The renders indicate that the BlackBerry Vienna will have an always-present physical QWERTY keyboard, a long rectangular screen and and three physical Android buttons seated under it. The bezels around the screen appear to be quite large, though it does look like the screen’s glass extends to the sides of the phone as well.
Missing the premium BlackBerry Priv’s dual edge display indicates that this could likely be a more budget friendly phone than the Priv. The smartphone looks to come in four different colours and a rough textured body. BlackBerry’s standard four button combo adorns the chamfered sides of the Vienna and if they are anything like the Priv’s then the buttons would be a volume up, volume down, and a quick mute button.
A front and rear camera combo can also be seen in the photos. The rear camera does not appear to have any visible hump but there what looks like a single LED flash nestled right next to it.
Its design bears some resemblance to the BlackBerry Passport, albeit with a longer screen. Should this end up being the rumoured Android-powered Passport, it could then indicate that overall sales of the Priv are going well since BlackBerry said that they would only release the “Passport 2” if the Priv performed well. On Amazon at least, sales are indeed very positive as the Priv was sold out within hours of its United States official release.
The BlackBerry Priv marked the Waterloo-based company’s big move away from its proprietary OS into Google’s sandbox. Many called this move a Hail Mary attempt though CEO John Chen said that a ‘Hail Mary’ was not quite the right term as the Priv had been in the works for some time already.
BlackBerry was always known for its emphasis on safety and productivity, which was something that was built into the BlackBerry OS, and something that its users appreciated. However, the company simply could not keep up with the number of apps present on systems such as Android and iOS. As a result, BlackBerry’s market share dwindled to about 0.3% in Q2 of 2015.
Another Android device so soon would indicate that the company could be abandoning BlackBerry 10 entirely, at least for the time being. But this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as CEO John Chen had said before that their choice of OS would be dictated by “business choices”.
With the Priv’s arrival in Malaysia rumoured to be just around the corner, the Vienna could be just the sequel it needs, especially if it was more affordable. Is this enough to regain BlackBerry’s lost user base though?