The once dominant BlackBerry is no longer the same today. With devices like the DTEK50 and DTEK60, BlackBerry will be relying on partners to manufacture its newer models. Before it all comes to an end, BlackBerry is said to be releasing one more device which will come with a QWERTY keyboard.
Questions and searches about BlackBerry’s first Android device has finally bared fruit; for Malaysians will have the PRIV by next week. This do or die device will be the brand’s pivotal move to see if it can still play the mobile game or close down for good.
Luxury meets privacy in the form of a 24K gold-plated BlackBerry Priv by Vietnamese folks, Karalux. From skin makers like dbrand and Slickwraps, to pimped out editions with diamonds and just overall expensive devices from brands like Vertu; seems a powerful smartphone isn’t enough anymore for the rich. Those with a large net-worth need a little more from their smartphones and Priv owners can now join the upper class – as if adding gold to your smartphone elevates your status.
Button mashing was a thing of the past, at least for most smartphone users; don’t worry BlackBerry toting folks, we’ve got your backs and maybe soon people might give the qwerty loving brand a go again – thanks to the PRIV. The aforementioned device’s pre-order site went up and down and up again, with the price point getting a “discount” when it really went live. Perhaps one of the most anticipated launches in the brand’s history (you know, cause its an BlackBerry that runs on Android) will happen soon but a list of stock BB apps have been found on Google’s Play Store.
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UPDATE: Pre-order page emerges again. Initial price revised.
No glitz and no glamour for the BlackBerry PRIV or maybe someone accidentally let the cat out of the bag too early. We’re not too sure since the manufacturer made their pre-order site live for awhile before removing the page. Well at least we know 3 things; the price, when it’ll ship and its internals – whoops.
Touting privacy as a selling point for years, BlackBerry’s brand might be dangerously hanging off a very small edge with their revenues continually sliding. When asked about the company’s prospects by the Verge during the recent Code Mobile conference, their CEO said that failing to reach 5 million units sold, the company might abandon the mobile business.
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.
Samsung has announced the new Samsung Galaxy Pro which is an Android device that comes with a full QWERTY keyboard in a candybar form factor. The device is powered by a 800MHz processor and comes with a 2.8″ capacitive display, 3MP Camera and runs on Android 2.2 Froyo. The rest of the specs such as RAM and screen type hasn’t been revealed yet.
At first, we thought this could be the Samsung Galaxy Q which was earlier speculated as a BlackBerry competitor but the specs fall short behind its rumoured 3″ Super AMOLED display and 1GHz processor. According to Samsung Hub, Three UK has confirmed to offer the device and they even had a brief preview hands-on video of the Galaxy Pro.
So far, there hasn’t been many Android devices with a full front facing QWERTY keyboard in a candybar form factor. The other 2 that we know of is the Motorola Droid Pro and Motorola Charm. Earlier on, Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha had boldly claim that a significant number of BlackBerry users will be wanting to switch over to Android. Perhaps with the recent announcement of BBM being made available to Android, we might possibly see more BlackBerry users switching over. Having a familiar form factor will definitely help attract these crackberries over.
Check out the quick preview video of the Samsung Galaxy Pro after the break
Motorola has officially announced the Motorola Charm which is a QWERTY device running on Android 2.1 (Eclaire). The device looks pretty sleek and this will appeal for those who prefer candybar qwerty phones like Blackberry/Nokia E71.
Apart from having a QWERTY keyboard, the Charm features a 2.8″ touchscreen and a touchpad behind the device called the “Backtrack”. For camera, it spots a 3MP camera with “Kodak Perfect Touch Technology” which they claims produces better and brighter pictures. For better enhanced voice call, it even has a 2nd microphone to cancel out background noise.
Check out the video after the jump.