Blackberry are certainly proving to be highly active in their bid to reclaim smartphone market share. News of new releases, the extensions of the popular Messaging service, and the development of an S4 sized smartphone was tempered by the possibility that the Playbook will not receive a Blackberry 10 update.
The new Blackberry Q5 is, not necessarily just in name, half of the iPhone priced Q10. The Q5 is a low cost QWERTY phone that also features a 3.1inch touch screen and will be available in a range of colours. It will have 2GB of RAM and 8GB flash memory when it is released in the UK in July this year. The front facing camera will be 2MP but the rear facing will be 5MP and it will, of course, include Blackberry Messenger. Pricing has yet to be confirmed but it will almost certainly cost less than the arguably overpriced Q10.
During the company’s developer’s conference, CEO Thorsten Heins said that Messenger would be rolled out to a number of other devices including those that run on Android and iOS. Messenger, which will look to take on the likes of WhatsApp and Skype, not only offers free messaging but also features like video chat, screen sharing, and collaborative tools. It is considered one of the diamonds of the Blackberry marque. There was no mention of whether the feature would be made available for Windows Phone but Heins did say that the rollout would begin in summer of this year.
One device that looks unlikely to surface is the next iteration of the Playbook tablet. The Playbook was severely limited in its functionality. It could be considered a useful addition for those that have a Blackberry phone, enabling improved access and working with things like email and the calendar from your phone. However, as a standalone tablet it was, in our opinion, still too expensive for the features it offered despite being considered a budget model. A reluctance to confirm that the updated Blackberry 10 would be available on the Playbook, along with Heins statement that tablets would be dead in five years, is a fairly clear sign that they are concentrating their efforts in other areas.
One such area is in the development of the Samsung Galaxy S4 sized Z10. The company are reportedly testing a 5 inch version of the Z10 which would become a direct competitor to Samsung’s Galaxy S4 and the latest HTC One. The news has yet to be confirmed officially and apparently comes from information leaked by a handset tester for the Canadian mobile phone company.