Let's face it - Blackberry is dying. The company has recently announced they're pulling out of the consumer space and instead focusing on big corporations. So what are you going to do when it comes to phone upgrade time? Here's five possible upgrades for your Blackberry.
It has been a weird few days for BlackBerry with the Canadian phone maker announcing yesterday that it is looking for a buyer.
Yet today it seemed as if nothing had changed for the maker took the wraps off its 9720 smartphone.
It is an old school handset in that it runs the company's established Blackberry 7.1 mobile operating system (OS) rather than the Blackberry OS10 found on more recent handsets like the Z10. I guess this will help keep costs down, which is imperative for the brand to continue doing brisk business in emerging markets.
The phone features Blackberry's traditional physical QWERTY and a dedicated BBM key, there's a small-ish 2.7in 480x360 touchscreen, a single-core 806MHz processor and 512MB of RAM.
It comes with 512MB of internal storage expandable via microSD card, a 1,450mAh battery and a 5MP rear-facing camera. You can have it in black, white, blue, purple and pink.
It will debut in the next few weeks in Europe and other parts of the globe and our guess is that will retail for around £200.
We have written about the A10, BlackBerry's upcoming big screen phone, a few times before and now it appears we have a picture of it. In typical leak style it is a low res grainy image, but if legit it does give us a few clues as to what we can expect from the upcoming phone.
Design-wise the A10 sports a design less angular than its BlackBerry Z10 predecessor. Its corners are more rounded and the extra white on the casing is unusual for BlackBerry.
The handset also has a five inch display - moving it almost into Phablet territory - though its resolution is rumoured by BGR to be just 1024 x768 which is significantly short of the HD delivered by rival flagship handsets.
BGR also says that the mobile has a dual-core processor, as opposed to the quad and octo-cores found in Samsung's top-tier Android handsets.
It is still all rumour and hearsay for now. But it seems that the company has got some work to do if it wants its flagship handset (if this is it) to be a huge hit.
Since its launch the Q10 has become very popular with BlackBerry devotees. This could well be because its keeps the company's trademark keyboard at the expense of a few inches off the screen size.
Naturally there has already been a large number of cases for the mobile. Here is our pick of the bunch.
An interesting spot by the team at Omio which has noted that one UK retailer has got a price and on sale date for the BlackBerry Q5.
Announced last month the Q5 is the cut down version of its handset the Q10 - that's the one with the proper QWERTY keypad. It has a similar sized screen - 3.1 inches though it is slightly lower quality LCD rather than AMOLED, and slower processor and a five mega pixel camera as opposed to the eight mega pixel on on the Q10.
Anyhow unlocked-mobiles.com, is now taking pre-orders of the phone which it says will come in the middle of July and retail for £349.98.
More from its website here.
Believe it or not there is still a market for stupidly expensive designer mobile phones. And it doesn't matter that much if their specs are ever or so out of date as long as they are finished in something shiny.
If you love the idea of gold mobi then you then you are sure as hell going to love the Porsche Design P'9981 BlackBerry which was unveiled today.
On the downside - it is a bit old school. It runs the BB OX 7.1 platform (not the shiny new BB10 platform the brand's newer handset runs on) sports a 2.8-inch touchscreen, 1.2GHz processor, 768MB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage and 5MP camera.
Basically it is a mid market BlackBerry, and specs wise you would be much better off the recently launched Z10
However what the Z10 doesn't have is this model's stainless steel case which has been covered in a layer of titanium before having a 24-carat gold coating applied. Very shiny!
If you do fancy one though you'll have to move quickly as there are only 25 models in existence. You can however buy the non gold-plated version for £1,250.
Fancy a new BlackBerry but haven't got the funds to secure one of their new high-end phones the Z10 and Q10. Well the good news is that BlackBerry appears to have a new budget-ish mobile that runs its new 10 operating system and it won't be too long before it arrives. In fact it could even be unveiled at the BlackBerry Live conference later this month.
Chinese gadget blog DGtle has a pretty impressive leak which not only includes several images but also the specs. It thinks that the BlackBerry R10 will feature a 3.1-inch display with 720p resolution like the Q10, a 5-megapixel camera, 8GB of internal storage, 2GB of RAM and a 1,800 mAh battery.
Those kind of specs bring it underneath the Q10 and mean that it will be mid price-ish in the UK. There has been some criticism of the brand that it chose to focus on high end smartphones for its relaunch and hasn't offerd hard core BlackBerry users a cheaper upgrade option.
Still no news on that BlackBerry big screen Phablet though.
Some rather good news for BlackBerry. Apparently the Q10 - the new phone with the integrated QWERTY keyboard has become the fastest-ever selling consumer electronics product in Selfridges.
This is quite probably because it was an exclusive partnership with the store and the brand but nevertheless the stock sold out in a very impressive two hours.
Julian Slim, Head of Home and Leisure comments: "The BlackBerry Q10 has been, without a doubt, the most highly anticipated smartphone we have ever sold and is already our most successful. Our partnership has proven to be a powerful combination of great technology and commercial success."
Rob Orr, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, BlackBerry, added: "This initial success at Selfridges highlights the strong consumer demand for a high-end physical keyboard smartphone."
Well I hope the company has been listening then. This is clearly the way to go for BlackBerry.
More details here.
So who are the top ten smartphone manufacturers in the world? Samsung check, Apple check. Coolpad? Who? Well the Chinese maker has just delivered its Q1 sales figures and according to this analyst has moved into the world's top ten smartphone brands replacing - get this - BlackBerry.
Apparently Coolpad's sales are 6.8 million, way above both Nokia (now in 10th) and Blackberry (which drops to 11th) whose sales this quarter are 6.1 and 6.0 million, respectively.
Coolpad is a Chinese brand - made by China Wireless - whose sales trajectory is starting to mirror other Chinese brands like Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo.
The downer though for BlackBerry is that as recently as recently as 2010 it was the world's second largest smartphone maker. Then again Nokia was top dog in 2011 Q1 - just two years ago.
Tomi Ahonen thinks it is temporary blip for BlackBerry and that the positive response to its 10 series range should propel it back into the list in Q2. As for Nokia, it seems like it is pinning its hopes on developing markets with phones like these to engineer a revival.
So BlackBerry needs a big touch screen phablet to keep up with its rivals. But its hardcore fans love that keyboard and want it on board too. Now it could add a keyboard to a big five inch screen, but that phone would not exactly be pocketable.
So what should BlackBerry do?
Well how about resurrect the slider? It is been a while since we saw a sliding phone, but adding a keyboard to a phablet could be a work of genius.
So check this out. Engadget has got the scoop on a BlackBerry design patent which shows how a large screen slider could work.
The fly in the ointment is that this dates from 2011 when the jury was very much out on the big screen handset, so it might have very little relevance to what BB has planned for 2013.
Nevertheless it would be a smart move for BlackBerry and we wonder if it will crop up at the company's annual showcase, now renamed BB Live, in mid-May.
Could it be the five inch U10 that was hinted at by the company here and has already been talked about by several analysts.
If it doesn't expect Samsung to get a slider in some time before Christmas.
Jefferies' analyst Peter Misek, who you might remember the other day for saying negative things about Apple, is bigging up one of its rivals - BlackBerry.
The analyst bases his optimism for the company on plans that he has seen which include the launch of 2-3 additional BB10 models before year end.
Among those slated to launch are a Z10 style touch screen device with a five inch screen and mid-range touch and keyboard style devices.
We saw a leak about the future of BlackBery a while back which included a model called the U10 which had a five inch screen and looked like it would be launching at the end of the year.
Personally I think that Blackberry needs to get a phone with a big - 4.5inch plus - screen and a keyboard out asap.
Good news if you are one of the many people waiting to get your mitts on BlackBerry Q10 - the OS 10 handset that comes with an old school QWERTY keyboard. The device has just gone up for pre-order in the UK via Vodafone.
The handset will be available from free to around £37 per month.
It will be fascinating to see how successful the device is. BlackBerry initially reported good sales of the Z10 (the one without the keyboard) in the UK, but there have been rumours that it isn't faring so well in the US.
Might it be that hardcore BlackBerry users have been waiting for this phone as they don't want to sacrifice the keyboard which in many ways makes the device unique.
Personally I think BlackBerry missed a trick with its recent launches. They should have opted for a big screen device with a keyboard. I think they could have then had a huge cult hit and a totally unique device.
Don't know about you, but I prefer my BlackBerrys old style with a keyboard. In fact the sooner they make a handset with a keyboard and a whopping big screen the better in my book.
If you do want a phone that combines a touch screen and a keyboard then the BlackBerry Q10 is now imminent. Voda has put this little video together to run through the phone's features.
Annoyingly Vodafone haven't confirmed when the phone will reach the UK, but let's hope it is soon.
The Q10 runs Blackberry 10 mobile OS, features a 3.1inch 720x720 Super AMOLED touchscreen, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 16GB of internal storage expandable to 64GB via microSD and an 8MP camera.
There is some pretty grave news for BlackBerry this morning with several news sources reporting that sales of its Z10 flagship in the US are, well, less than impressive. ET mag even suggests that returns of the phone might outnumber sales something which the company categorically denies.
This contrasts with the story coming from the BlackBerry camp less than a month ago when it not only said that the Z10 was selling well in Europe but it had just landed an order for one million smartphones.
Much has been written about BlackBerry's meteoric rise and disastrous slide, but most commentators seem united on one thing - that the brand needed to offer an iPhone style touch screen phone.
I wonder though if the brand has made an error though in the way that it has pushed the device at the expense of its more traditional style model the Q10.
The Q10, which is reputed to land in the UK later this month,is a smartphone with a 3.1inch screen and a full QWERTY keyboard. It runs BlackBerry's acclaimed OS 10 and has many of the features that debuted on the Z10. It is continuity for the brand rather than a significant break - which was what the Z10 turned out to be.
I do wonder whether in following the agenda set by Apple, Samsung et al that BlackBerry has jettisoned much of what made its handsets special.
The biggest problem with the keyboard phones is that they don't sport a large screen - which makes them looks and feel a little odd when compared to much of what else is currently on sale.
Here's where I think BlackBerry went wrong. Instead of offering the Q10 as a kind of afterthought maybe the Q10 could have been the flagship. The difference could have been a significant increase in the size of the screen.
Phablets - phones with five inch plus screens - are everywhere at the moment and yesterday Samsung unveiled a handset with a 6.3inch screen. I do wonder how BlackBerry's core audience might feel if they were offered a handset with a keyboard and a larger screen. It could never be over five inches because of the requirement to accommodate the keyboard but it could certainly be larger than the 3.1inches offered the by the Q10 - 4.5 inches would be a possibility.
That would be a real statement phone. A proper hybrid between a phone and a tablet and one that would enable traditional BlackBerry fans to use and send their text messages and email etc. Sure it would be big - but we seem to be fine with big phones now.
We have allegedly seen BlackBerry's road map for next year and there appears to be a phone which has a keyboard and a four inch screen called the R10. The disaster for BlackBerry is that it doesn't appear to be scheduled until the time next year. I do wonder if this might prove to be the undoing of a once great brand. I am sure that we will see a handset like this in the stores soon - though I wonder it will come from Korea or China rather than North America.
In what is likely to be the most interesting leak of the week Twitter account @BB10Leaks has posted a image of what purports to be BlackBerry's road map for the next twelve months, and there are some big surprises.
The first is that the company is apparently working on a pair of big screen BlackBerrys aka Phablets. Like the Z10 and the upcoming Q10 they would use the latest operating system - BlackBerry 10.
If the screen size is proportionate to the devices that we know - the Z10 and Q10 (which have 4.2 and 3.1inch screens respectively) I'd guess that the U10 would have at least a five inch screen with the R10 nudging four inches. Interestingly Blackberry has once again gone with the touch screen device first - aka the U10 - with the keyboard sporting R10 due in a year's time.
Before then it looks like the company is going to launch a second Playbook tablet in the summer. The first Playbook was a bit of disaster for the company but the newie seems like it will have a screen size of between 8-10 inches.
So what do you think? As a roadmap it certainly seems very plausible.
It appears that BlackBerry could be through the worst. The company today released its latest financial results - which include figures from the launch of its Z10 handset - and they are not too shabby.
In fact Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of the company claims that BlackBerry is back in profit.
It has sold over 1 million BlackBerry Z10 handsets and 6 million smartphones overall were shipped in the quarter ending March 2nd.
"We have implemented numerous changes at BlackBerry over the past year and those changes have resulted in the Company returning to profitability in the fourth quarter," said Heins
"As we go into our new fiscal year, we are excited with the opportunities for the BlackBerry 10 platform, and the commitments we are seeing from our global developers and partners. We are also excited about the new, dynamic culture at BlackBerry, where we are laser-focused on continuing to drive efficiency and improve the Company's profitability while driving innovation. We have built an engine that is able to drive improved financial performance at lower volumes, which should allow us to generate additional benefits from higher volumes in the future."
The company still has the Q10 handset up its sleeve too. That's the one that runs the new OS but has an old school BlackBerry keyboard.
More evidence that the Blackberry Q10, you know the one that uses the 10 OS but also sports a traditional BB style proper keyboard (and a smaller screen), will land in the UK very shortly.
Following on from rumours of an April launch Carphone Warehouse has just added the phe to its roster of handsets with the tag line that it is coming soon.
There are no pre-orders but if you register the retailer will keep you up to date with the latest news.
There seems to be a surprisingly large amount of interest in the phone - so do you fancy one?
There's an interesting story from sellmymobile, the website that lets people trade in their old handsets. It is reporting a surge in the number of people trading in old HTC and BlackBerry mobiles as they wait to get their mitts on the new Samsung Galaxy S 4 which arrives in the UK in late April.
Apparently trade-ins of HTC models on the site have shot up by 82 per cent in the two days since Samsung announced the Galaxy S4, while BlackBerry trade-ins have gone up 56 per cent.
The site also adds that Samsung users are ditching their old phones in preparation for the arrival of the new device too.
However as Colin White, managing director of Sellmymobile comments
'The rise in trade-ins of HTC and BlackBerry devices highlights the increasing rivalry between handset giants as consumers cash-in on the old in exchange for the new. But it's interesting to see that despite the hype, we haven't seen the same surge in trade-ins that we do with most Apple device launches.'
So maybe what we are seeing is a shift from owners of other non Apple phones towards the Galaxy S 4, while Apple owners stay resolutely tied to their brand. Anecdotally the only iPhone owners I know who have shifted to Android have been attracted by the Galaxy Note and its significantly larger screen. So maybe the S4's expected popularity will be fuelled by owners migrating from existing Android handsets and BlackBerry ones.
So are you looking to swap your HTC or Blackberry phones for a S 4?
So it seems that the worst might be over for BlackBerry. With the Z10 apparently selling well in the UK, strong interest in the upcoming Q10 and a bit of a buzz about the brand's devices - which frankly there hasn't been in years, things are certainly looking rosier for the company.
The big question though is how well the Z10 will perform in the US? It goes on sale there next week and poor sales could once again mean questions are asked about the future of the company.
BlackBerry did however receive a major shot in the arm this week when it announced that it has signed an order with a company to supply one million BlackBerry Z10 devices. It has not said who the buyer is and what territory they are in, but financial institutions were clearly impressed as the company's stock shot up.
Rick Costanzo executive VP for global sales at BlackBerry, said: 'An order for one million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10. Consumers are ready for a new user experience, and BlackBerry 10 delivers. With strong partner support, coupled with this truly re-invented new platform, we have a powerful recipe for success.'
So with the company seemingly on a more even footing are you once again thinking about a BlackBerry device? Is the Z10 a sexy handset for consumers or if it is successful is it just because it has once again attracted corporate customers?
Cast your mind back to January when BlackBerry took the wraps off its all new great hope the Z10.
At the same time it also unveiled another handset that was in a more traditional BlackBerry style design in the Q10.
The big differences between the two is that, just how BB lovers like it, the Q10 has a proper QWERTY keyboard and it also has a smaller screen to accomodate it.
We were told at the time that the launch was penciled or March or April, but two months on and there's no news.
Then today The Inquirer spotted that Carphone Warehouse had put the device on its site with a March launch. Weirdly this was amended and it now says coming soon.
We don't know a huge amount about the potential cost of the device. Our educated guess is that it will come in at around £35 per month on contract and £450 without.
We do know that the Q10 runs Blackberry 10 mobile OS, features a 3.1in 720x720 Super AMOLED touchscreen, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, 16GB of internal storage expandable to 64GB via microSD and an 8MP camera.