After years of watching users ditch its once-popular BlackBerry devices for more modern smartphones, RIM has decided to make one last effort to regain some of its former glory – and market share. The company has changed its name (now BlackBerry, Inc.) and its strategy, this morning announcing the first true BlackBerry smartphone: the Z10.
Question is: is it too late?
The BlackBerry Z10 bears little resemblance to its messenger-class predecessors. With a 4.2-inch touchscreen, rounded corners and flat sides, it’s difficult to escape comparisons with current iPhones – at least in terms of design. The Z10 is powered by a dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 2GB of RAM, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11n Wi-Fi, LTE, NFC, and 8MP/2MP cameras.
The BlackBerry 10 OS that drives the Z10 has been completely rewritten, and is heavily dependent on touch gestures to get the user from function to function. Engadget has posted a fairly extensive review of BB10, which is a must-read if you want to better understand the direction the OS has taken.
It doesn’t appear that the Z10 has any must-have features that would make a significant number of iPhone or Android users make the switch, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens when the new device is released in a few weeks. It will be available from the four major U.S. carriers, with LTE support from all but T-Mobile. Price with two-year contract will be around $200.
Watch the BlackBerry 10 & Z10 launch event video.
Two mobile platforms dominate the current smartphone landscape – iOS and Android – with two others hoping to gain ground – Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10. But there’s a fifth mobile OS on the horizon that may make an impact as well – Firefox OS.
Developed by Mozilla , Firefox OS is based on open web standards and APIs, and would, at first, be aimed at low-end devices that would be affordable for consumers.
The first developer hardware for Firefox OS is set to launch soon: the Keon (seen above) and the Peak, with a larger screen and more advanced hardware. Both will be sold by GeeksPhone. These handsets are not aimed at consumers, but at developers who wish to write software for the new OS.
No pricing or release information has been made available, but the hardware is expected to begin shipping soon.
It remains to be seen if Firefox OS can be a serious player in the mobile market, or if it’ll be more of a boutique project.
Today, Samsung unveiled a new smartphone model, the Galaxy S II Plus. As the name suggests, it is an update to the popular Galaxy S II Android phone, though the updates it offers aren’t exactly mind-blowing.
Like the original S II, the Plus has a 4.3" 480×800 Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen, a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, an 8MP primary camera, Bluetooth 3.0, and 1GB of RAM. The only hardware differences appear to be a faster camera, a microSD slot compatible with microSDXC cards up to 64GB, NFC, and reduced internal storage of 8GB (down from 16GB).
Another noteworthy change is the OS; although the S II has been updated to Android 4.0 with further updates on the way, the S II Plus ships with Android 4.1.2 “Jelly Bean.”
No word yet on carriers, pricing or release dates.
View the Samsung Press Release
With the upcoming release of Windows 8 and Office 2013, and this week’s announcement of the (seemingly) drool-worthy Surface tablets, the last few months of 2012 were already shaping up to be a busy time for Microsoft. But today the company took the wraps off yet another 2012 addition to its release lineup: Windows Phone 8. And, surprisingly, all of these products seem to have a coherent theme; for the first time I can remember Microsoft appears to be getting its act together, leveraging “Windows” and everything that entails to push other products that extend a user experience that hundreds of millions of people know and use.
Windows Phone 8, which is really version 2.0 of the Windows Phone OS, builds on WP7 and catches up, in many respects, to iOS and Android with new hardware support, new software, lots of new features, and an expanded ecosystem.
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After months of waiting and uncertainty, AT&T has finally provided hard information on its upcoming flagship Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia 900. The phone will launch April 8, 2012, for $99 on contract.
At launch, the Lumia 900 will be available in black or cyan; later in the month, a white version will also be available.
The Lumia 900 is the second Nokia Windows Phone released in the U.S. – the mid-range Lumia 710 hit T-Mobile earlier this year.
Features of the Lumia 900 include a 1.4GHz Snapdragon single-core processor, 16GB of onboard flash storage, a 4.3-inch AM-OLED touchscreen, an 8MP Carl Zeiss primary camera, a front-facing camera, and support for AT&T’s still-new LTE high speed data network.
The full press release is available after the jump.
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