Monday, August 29, 2011

BlackBerry's 2011 line up

BlackBerry is currently in the thick of a huge launch and re-vamp of its product line - a measure that the company must be banking on to stem the eroding mind share and market share in the smartphone segment. India is a important market for BlackBerry, and one where the company has lost less momentum compared to the US, so we can surely expect the latest releases to land early on our shores.

First of all, the new BB range debuts with BB 7 OS, the newest RIM mobile software. Preliminary reviews suggest that it represents in terms of user experience modest upgrade over OS 6, though not changing the way the operating system looks and behaves - that's probably a good thing. But BB 7 still lags behind iOS and Android in two critical areas - the browsing experience and the app ecosystem. This should not be of concern to loyal BlackBerry users, who will be welcomed to a new OS that runs way faster (especially on the top-end Bold), offers NFC, HD Video recording, better graphics support and more.

What should concern the BB User is that OS 7 cannot be upgraded on older devices. Which means that the Torch and the Bold 9780 will now be obsolete. Do keep in mind that OS 7 is also a temporary fix and RIM proposes to shift to the all-new QNX OS next year. Effectively, that would probably make this year's crop of BlackBerry's obsolete? The first QNX handset, the BlackBerry Colt, is expected to debut in Q1 2012. Do note that QNX phones will likely feature a software update that supports Android apps. So you would be able to overcome the limitations of BB App World by gaining access to the better-equipped world of Android apps.

1) BlackBerry Curve : 9350 (CDMA)  and 9360/9370 (GSM)




(Image Source : BGR )

The refreshed entry-level Curve range will be launched globally over September-October. The Curve 9350, 9360 and 9370 feature the brand new BlackBerry OS 7, 5 Mega Pixel Camera, slim design and support for NFC and GPS.

It will be unusual to see phones of this calibre without the mandatory touch screen that now comes on even sub Rs.5000 handsets, but that is RIM's differentiator and fans of RIM's QWERTY keyboard will have no problems.

No word yet on pricing, but I would expect BlackBerry to price it on par with the current Curve line-up.



2) BlackBerry Bold 9900 (GSM) and 9930 (CDMA)




(image source : Techradar )

It has drawn attention as the 'best BlackBerry ever', replacing the flagship Torch at the top of RIM's smartphone Pyramid. RIM has updated the phone with a 1.2 GHz processor,  2.8 inch hi-resolution capacative touchscreen, HD video camera - all packed into a svelte, exceptionally good looking body measuring 10 mm in thickness. In reviews, BlackBerry geeks have praised the physical keyboard as the best yet on any BB device and that's saying a lot, given that BB has always featured the best keyboards.

Again, we have yet to get a pricing for India, but looking at pricing of 250 USD plus on US networks, I would imagine that Indian pricing would at least touch the Rs.30,000 mark. That's what most Indian tech sites also seem to be suggesting.

3) BlackBerry Torch 2 9810 (GSM) 




(Image Source : Techradar )
Physically, the Torch retains the looks of its predecessor with a sliding QWERTY + touchscreen, but processor speed has been ramped up to 1.2 GHz, 768 MB RAM, and it has been equipped with a higher-resolution display - the 3.2 inch screen gets an upgrade from HVGA to VGA.

While it is faster and smoother in operation than its predecessor thanks to the upgraded OS and hardware, it does not represent a major refresh on its predecessor. It also yields place to the Bold 9900 as the RIM flagship.

Letsbuy is currently listing the Torch 9810 at Rs. 30,000 (approximately) The original Torch (9800) is already being heavily discounted, deservedly so, since it cannot be upgraded to OS7.


4) Blackberry Torch 9850 (CDMA) and 9860 (GSM) 






(Image Source : the  BlackBerry Website )

The all new touch-only version of the Torch evokes memories of the ill-fated BB Storm but thankfully, things are much improved.  The yet-to-be released phones feature a 3.7 inch (BlackBerry's largest) WVGA screen and other features including HD Video recording, digital compass etc.

Let's wait for the pricing which should be in the range of Rs. 28-30,000.



Sources : BGR, the official BlackBerry Blog