In a press event in New Delhi today, BlackBerry Limited launched the BlackBerry Classic in India. The smartphone is specially built to meet the needs of productive people who prefer a physical QWERTY keyboard.
In a press conference in New Delhi today, BlackBerry introduced the new BlackBerry Z3 smartphone in India. Featuring BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.1, the new all-touch BlackBerry Z3 smartphone comes with a 5-inch display.
Blackberry recently announced the new BlackBerry Q5 QWERTY smartphone. It is the company’s second QWERTY phone which runs on the BlackBerry 10 Operating System. The previously launched BlackBerry Q10 was a high-end smartphone, while the new BlackBerry Q5 is an entry-level device for the emerging markets. This handset allows you to access more than 100,000 apps from the BlackBerry World. Check out the complete specs below.
Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry, said,
“BlackBerry is excited to bring a new BlackBerry QWERTY smartphone, the BlackBerry Q5, to our customers in selected markets around world. The BlackBerry Q5 gives you the best of everything with its cutting-edge BlackBerry 10 functionality and a physical QWERTY keyboard. It is for youthful fans that are passionate, confident and bold, and it makes it easy for them to have fun, create, share and stay connected.”
BlackBerry Q5 features a 3.1 inch LCD display, sporting a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, Touch On Lens, 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, BlackBerry 10 OS, 5 megapixel rear facing camera with LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front facing camera and much more.
Other features include NFC (Near Field Communication), microUSB, microHDMI-Out, 3.5 mm headset jack, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Assisted GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 32 GB expandable memory and a 2100 mAh non-removable battery.
The BlackBerry Q5 will go on sale from July in selected markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia (including the Asia Pacific region), and Latin America. This handset will be available in white, black, pink and red colors. The price of this device will be announced in the coming weeks.
The jury is still out on the BlackBerry 10; however, the struggling Canadian phone manufacturer is making good strides in filling up its app store. The BlackBerry World now has more than 100,000 apps, with 30,000 new apps being added over the past seven weeks.
“The response to the BlackBerry 10 platform and applications has been outstanding. Customers are thrilled with the applications already available, and the catalog just keeps growing, now with more than 100,000 apps,” said Martyn Mallick, Vice President, Global Alliances at BlackBerry. “Top brands and application providers are joining us every day and are seeing the benefits of being early supporters of the new platform. We constantly hear from developers that the BlackBerry 10 tools are easy to build with and that we provide opportunities for app differentiation that they do not see on other platforms.”
The good news for BlackBerry is that it has managed to persuade some of the most popular mobile app developers to develop apps for its new operating system. Some of the big names that BlackBerry is touting are 8tracks, Angry Birds Star Wars, ATP World Tour Live, BBC Top Gear News, Bloomberg Anywhere, CBS Sports, Delta Air Lines, F1 2013 Timing App CP, Facebook, Foursquare, Jetpack Joyride, Keek, LinkedIn, Navita Translator, Need for Speed, NHL GameCenter, N.O.V.A. 3, The New York Times, PressReader, Slacker, Songza, Twitter, UFC, USA TODAY, Waze, WhatsApp, and Zara. Apps from Amazon Kindle, OpenTable and The Wall Street Journal will launch today, while apps from CNN, The Daily Show Headlines, eBay, eMusic, Maxim, MLB at Bat, MTV News, Pageonce, PGA, Rdio, Skype, Soundhound and Viber will be added in the coming weeks.
Having a vibrant and rich app store is critical for the success of any platform. BlackBerry seems to have gotten off to a good start. However, BlackBerry World still has a long way to go before it can even think of competing with Android and iOS app stores. While reaching the hundred thousand mark even before launching in several key markets is impressive, it’s worth keeping in mind that a significant chunk of the 100,000 apps are Android ports created using the BlackBerry Packager. These apps are generally fully functional, but they don’t leverage the unique strengths of the new BB 10 platform, and feel out of place visually.
Along with the BlackBerry Z10, the Canadian mobile phone manufacturer has also launched the new BlackBerry Q10 smartphone. It is the first smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard and a touchscreen display which runs on the latest BlackBerry 10 Operating System. The specs of this device is almost similar to the BlackBerry Z10. This handset allows you to access more than 70,000 apps from the BlackBerry World.
Carlo Chiarello, executive vice president-Global Smartphone Business, RIM, said,
“The BlackBerry Q10 smartphone delivers a powerful new platform for BlackBerry customers. Combined with the 4G LTE network and service plans from Sprint, BlackBerry Q10 customers will be delighted with a re-invented communication experience, seamless multitasking, easy access to multiple social networks and the peace of mind that BlackBerry security gives them.”
BlackBerry Q10 features a 3.1 inch LCD display, sporting a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, Touch On Lens, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, BlackBerry 10 OS, 8 megapixel rear facing camera with auto-focus and 5X digital zoom, full HD (1080p) video recording and playback, 2 megapixel front facing camera with 3X digital zoom, HD (720p) video recording and much more.
Other features include NFC (Near Field Communication), microUSB, microHDMI-Out, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 3G/4G Connectivity, Assisted GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB internal memory, hot swappable MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, up to 10 hours of talk-time, up to 305 hours of stand-by time and a 1800 mAh removable battery. This handset measures 130 mm x 65.6 mm x 9 mm and weighs 135 grams.
T-Mobile and AT&T has already announced its plan to launch the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone in the US. However, the price and release date of this smartphone is still a mystery. The BlackBerry Q10 is expected to go on sale from Q2 of 2013.
Thorsten Heins, the current CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), has told the German newspaper Die Welt that Blackberry 10 may be licensed to third-party manufacturers. Unfortunately, RIM likely won’t license the hardware until after RIM’s own hardware hits the market and has a chance to prove itself. When asked by the publication, Heins said the following:
“Before you licensed the software, you must show that the platform has a large potential. First we have to fulfill our promises. If such proof, a licensing is conceivable.”
In the past, RIM has never licensed its Blackberry operating system to third-party manufactures and has always produced its own hardware. If licensed, Blackberry 10 would be opened to a whole new world of hardware innovation, something which RIM is currently lacking.
Blackberry 10 is expected to launch on January 30th. The operating system has been delayed multiple times over the past year in order to give both RIM and third-party developers time to prepare for the launch of the OS. This iteration of the Blackberry operating system has been rebuilt from the ground up in hopes of regaining lost marketshare for the company.
There was a time when RIM could do no wrong. It enjoyed a dominating market share in North America, and enjoyed a massive cult status. With the advent of iOS and Android, things changed rapidly and the tables were turned on RIM. However, things are about to change now. Recently, RIM demoed its Blackberry 10 OS back in December last year, and people have been waiting for the January 30th launch of Blackberry 10 since the day Network world posted that awesome video.
As we get closer to the launch date, RIM has thrown in another surprise with its portathon event.
Alec Saunders, VP, Developer Relations at RIM was spotted tweeting,
Well there you have it.37.5 hours in, we hit 15,000 apps for this portathon. Feel like I’ve run a marathon. Thanks to all the devs!
— Alec Saunders (@asaunders) January 13, 2013
The portathon event was held in two parts, one where only Android developers were asked to port their apps to Blackberry 10, and another where apps written in Appcelerator, Maramalade, Sencha, jQuery, PhoneGap and Qt were to be ported. The total number of ported apps stood at 15,000 after 37.5 hours. RIM was also offering $100 for every successful porting and submission. Some might call that bribing, but RIM shares have reached a new high after the event, and this is a good sign.
RIM had to realize eventually that this is what people want from a phone, and after this move, there might just be a chance for RIM to make a strong comeback. Although Blackberry 10 might not bring new features to the table, an overhaul like this had become imminent for its survival.
Reuters (via Crackberry, The Verge) has just reported that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon will all give Blackberry 10 devices a chance on their networks. Reuters has spoken with all three carriers on the topic and can confirm that all three will carry Blackberry 10 phones. Executives at all three companies have made the following statements on Blackberry 10:
“It’s logical to expect our current (BlackBerry) customers will have the best BlackBerry devices to choose from in the future,” – AT&T handset executive Jeff Bradley
“We’re extremely optimistic that it’s going to be a successful product and our business customers are extremely interested in it,” – T-Mobile CEO John Legere
“We’re hopeful it’s going to be a good device”, “We’ll carry it” – Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam
This would leave Sprint as the only major American cellular network to not publically support Blackberry 10 devices, though this may change closer to Blackberry 10’s official launch date.
It’s nice to see that carriers are still giving RIM (Research In Motion) a chance even though Blackberry marketshare has been rapidly declining over the past few years. If you’re unaware, Blackberry 10 is a totally reworked Blackberry operating system. RIM will be completely redoing its smartphone hardware line with Blackberry 10 in hopes of putting up a stronger fight against Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
The writing is on the wall for RIM. The Canadian smartphone giant was caught napping as iOS and Android stole its thunder. Not only was RIM too late to realize the potential of new-age, touch-first smartphones, its first few attempts to compete with Google and Apple were abysmal failures. Now, as Samsung continues to ship millions of Android smartphones, Apple books millions of pre-orders for its new baby, and Nokia inches towards releasing a promising alternative for the holiday season, Research in Motion is left without a flagship that can reverse its fortunes. In a meek attempt to regain investor and consumer confidence, RIM demoed the half-baked BlackBerry 10 as far back as May 2012. However, the first BB 10 devices won’t show up before January ’13.
BlackBerry 10 devices will mainly fall in two categories – the full-touch L series, and the hardware QWERTY sporting N series. RIM is yet to disclose any information about its new line of smartphones. However, BGR has spotted a couple of pictures of a full-touch Blackberry that goes by the codename London. London doesn’t appear to have any standout design features like the iPhone 5 or the Lumia 920; however, it looks pretty decent.
RIM has its task cut out as London and Nevada (its first N-series device) can’t afford to be anything short of stunning for BlackBerry to be able to offer even a semblance of competition to Android and iOS, both of which have a mature platform and a flourishing app ecosystem.
RIM’s BlackBerry World conference kicked off a short while ago with a keynote address by its CEO Thorsten Heins. As expected, he offered attendees the first glimpse of BlackBerry 10. It will not be an exaggeration to say that RIM’s survival depends on BlackBerry 10. The once assailable BlackBerry brand has almost been written off by most pundits, and consumers are flocking to Android and iOS powered devices. A completely revamped BlackBerry is Research in Motion’s last hope.
Unfortunately, the new BlackBerry platform is still far from being ready, and in the meanwhile, RIM can do little more than sit and watch helplessly as it continues to bleed. BlackBerry 10 devices are slated to show up only towards the end of this year. However, the good news is that RIM finally appears to be making the right moves.
The new BlackBerry OS will be designed to operate as a full touchscreen device; however, variants with physical QWERTY keyboards are also likely. Typing on Blackberry devices has always been a joy, and RIM has put in an extra amount of effort to ensure that the same remains true even for Blackberry 10 handsets without a physical keyboard. The new onscreen keyboard has all the usual bells and whistles like a prediction engine. But unlike in other phones, Blackberry will overlay the predictions right over the key you will have to type next.
The new platform, which is based on QNX, will feature a gesture driven interface that will enable quick and effortless switching between apps, notifications, and documents with the flick of a finger. Even though the OS is far from being ready, it’s still incredibly snappy. Everything that was demoed today exuded a fluidness that’s still absent from most Android devices. Low latency is one of the things that RIM put a lot of effort on, and it appears that the architectural decisions they made paid off.
RIM is also providing all the conference attendees a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha developer testing device. The device is a sample unit meant to help developers in getting a head start. Somewhat disappointingly, it doesn’t ship with BlackBerry 10 OS. It currently runs a modified version of the Playbook OS, with some of the hooks and calls that will be part of BB10. The test device sports a 4.2″ touchscreen display with 1024×768 pixel resolution, NFC, microSD, and quad-band HSPA.