The Mobile World Congress being held in Barcelona is something of an Olympics for mobile devices and their makers.
Just as with the Olympics (held in Barcelona in 1992, actually), you send your best challengers forward to compete and dazzle the world. That is certainly what’s happening in the Spanish city with BlackBerry’s presence this year, from the unveiling of the Blackberry Leap, the announcement of the Porsche Design ‘Keian’ phone and new color options for the BlackBerry Classic, and even a devilish tease of an enticing new device with a ‘slider’ form factor and dual-curved display (scroll down to catch our picture of it).
The “Midrange-but-Capable”BlackBerry Leap
A year after the successful multi-region launch of the BlackBerry Z3 in emerging markets last summer, BlackBerry is giving customers looking for a BlackBerry all-touch device another chance to take a leap.
The BlackBerry Leap’s 5-inch HD touch display, powered by a generous 25-hour battery life and loaded with BlackBerry’s trademark productivity offerings. And as Digital Trends’ Malarie Gokey notes: “[The Leap] runs the latest version of BlackBerry OS 10.3.1, which means it has the Hub, Blend, and BlackBerry Messenger built into the device. All of BlackBerry’s top-end security features are also available on the phone.”
At an affordable list price of $275 USD (less on-contract), the BlackBerry Leap “aims to impress,” declaresPocket-Lint’s Luke Edwards.
Engadget’s Chris Velazco says “the Leap is considerably more attractive” than its predecessors, while TechnoBuffalo’s Killian Bell writes, “The Leap certainly looks like an attractive smartphone, sporting a clean, simplistic design . . . Leap is the midrange but capable smartphone all the rumors have been promising.”
“[G]eared to young professionals . . . [the Leap could] be attractive to the enterprise crowd,” Newcomb continues. “With more than 25 hours of battery life and the BlackBerry virtual assistant that was unveiled last year, the device can easily withstand a long workday.”
Twitter reactions praised the Leap’s affordability, and visual appeal, long battery life and productivity features:
The recent release of the BlackBerry Classic generated waves of laudatory reviews (check out our review roundups HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for the full scope, with a “best-of” SlideShare HERE.)
while Ubergizmo’s Edwin Kee , “This is certainly interesting news for those who have longed to pick up the BlackBerry Classic, but [wanted more color options].”
BlackBerry also teased a new Porsche Design BlackBerry 10 device, following in the footsteps of the P’9983. As with prior Porsche devices, this one sports a codename starting with the letter ‘K’ – in this case, Keian. Read the story behind the name.
BerryReview’s Terrence T. says, “I am stoked for the next Porsche Design device to replace my P’9983 [although] I do hope it has the same form factor as the Slider!”
Jaws Drop at New Slider Device Tease
BlackBerry’s “one more thing” moment was the svelte slider device with the dual-curved display introduced at the end of our launch. It caught everyone by surprise, igniting a flurry of tweets, articles and comments. Here’s the Tweet that ignited the web:
The news, combined with the debut of the BlackBerry Leap, made TechMeme’s front page, too:
“What the? All-new BlackBerry slider phone unexpectedly revealed at MWC 2015.” The site’s Rik Henderson writes, “[T]he company pulled a major surprise . . . with an all-new slider smartphone later this year [which looks] a bit like the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, with a rounded screen on either side . . . [W]e have to applaud the manufacturer for pulling one of the biggest surprise acts of this year’s trade show.”
PhoneArena called the news “huge”: “Such a form factor – if pulled successfully – will be a big differentiator for BlackBerry in this market of increasingly similar devices from all manufacturers. The company has already pulled off a pretty successful launch with the square-screen BlackBerry Passport, and now it might try to repeat the exercise with this new upcoming BlackBerry ‘dual edge’.”
PhonesReview’s Adam Field declared: “[W]hile we’ve seen a number of sliding Android devices, the BlackBerry slider smartphone is by far the coolest modern slider around . . . [E]xpect it to sell quickly as it’s the kind of unique smartphone that BlackBerry fans have been waiting for.”
Engadget’s Daniel Cooper opines that the device “looks like the holy union between the Leap and the Passport . . . [W]e bet there are a few BlackBerry fans who just went weak at the knees.”
GSMArena says the slider has “an interesting, kind of retro form-factor. A physical keyboard [has] a lot of appeal and might just turn out to be a major selling point for the device once it becomes available.”
Ubergizmo’s Edwin Kee says the upcoming phone “caused its fair share of excitement…This device is certainly a surprise – and a pleasant one at that, too, from the folks over at BlackBerry.,
“We enjoy seeing a company forge its own path rather than release another ‘me too’ product, so we are very much looking forward to seeing this phone again,” praises Alex Davies of Tom’s Hardware. “Hopefully, BlackBerry will let more details slip soon on what looks to be the most exciting device it has made in a long while.”
So yeah, it was a big news day. Colored (BlackBerry) Classics, a slider, a new Porsche Design luxury device and the BlackBerry Leap, all in one day.
We will be presenting more information in the near future, so be sure to stay tuned to INSIDE BlackBerry for the latest news and reveals.
About Matt Young
Matt Young is a writer and editor with experience in tech, music, news and entertainment. A current Performance Evangelist for Radware, Matt has previous experience with BlackBerry, and Avaya. He has a degree in Journalism from San Jose State University. Follow Matt on Twitter @techunraveler.