Following on from the recent release of the BlackBerry Priv, BlackBerry has announced another smartphone release in the shape of the Vienna. The BlakBerry Vienna is a slimmer follow-up to the Priv, with this forthcoming device having been leaked just this week. The BlackBerry-following website Crackberry has posted leaked renders of the design of the phone online, and the rumor mill is already grinding ahead of a possible release of the device.
BlackBerry Vienna design
What is immediately obvious when viewing the forthcoming BlackBerry Vienna is that it strongly resembles the older BlackBerry Passport device. There are also similarities with the BlackBerry Priv, as BlackBerry begins the prospect of updating its smartphone range. It has certainly been a challenging time for BlackBerry, but the company is optimistic that it can turn its fortunes round in the coming years.
When assessing the visage of these forthcoming smartphone, it is evident that the BlackBerry Vienna will be somewhat longer than many competitors in the smartphone marketplace. But designers have naturally compensated for this slightly clunky design by including the hardware keyboard that the BlackBerry range has long since become associated with. This is an attractive aspect of the BlackBerry series for its fans and aficionados, and even Kim Kardashian has stated that she owns numerous BlackBerry devices for this very reason.
This BlackBerry Vienna release can be viewed as a more traditional BlackBerry smartphone then, as the Priv differs significantly in this respect. The BlackBerry Priv features a hidden keyboard that slides out from beneath the display, while the Vienna design will seemingly ensure that the device is significantly slimmer than the 9 millimeter thick Priv.
It is difficult to offer to much more information about the BlackBerry Vienna at the time of writing, quite simply because it isn’t available. BlackBerry hasn’t confirmed any significant details about this forthcoming smartphone, and the only information we have to go on at the time of writing is the phone renders that have been released.
Likely Vienna specs
What does seem likely, though, is that BlackBerry will take advantage of the components utilized within the BlackBerry Priv when the Vienna is released. This would make production considerably more feasible for a company that has struggled financially in recent years. Indeed, this double-whammy of the release of the BlackBerry Priv and BlackBerry Vienna represents very much a last attempt to create a consumer-friendly smartphone.
So we can at least look at the specifications of the BlackBerry Priv as a reasonable guide for this forthcoming handset. Thus, it is notable that the BlackBerry Priv features a 5.4-inch OLED display with 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor paired with 3GB of memory, and an 18 megapixel rear camera. The specs of the BlackBerry Priv are actually pretty impressive, and it certainly represents the most Advanced smartphone that BlackBerry has ever released, so it will be interesting to see to what extent the BlackBerry Vienna matches these capabilities.
However, it must be stated that the ability of the corporation to achieve success with the BlackBerry Priv and BlackBerry Vienna will not really be predicated on the quality of the devices. Whereas once upon a time, BlackBerry was a household name in the smartphone market, today this niche is dominated by devices from the likes of Apple and Samsung. The iPhone has been such a resounding success, and has become such an iconic device, that strategy will be as important for BlackBerry as the quality of smartphones it releases.
CEO speaks out
With this in mind, the CEO of BlackBerry has recently apportioned the company’s declining fortunes to a failure to deal with the “speed of change” in the industry. John Chen indicated that the company had dragged itself back “from the edge of death”, and is implementing a new strategy with the intention of re-establishing itself in the smartphone marketplace.
Chen reflected that BlackBerry had extremely successful years in 2006 and 2007, before the release of the first iPhone greatly impacted upon the company. Indeed, a lengthy piece of investigative journalism recently outlined the extent to which BlackBerry was caught unawares by the initial iPhone release, and this has defined the steady and inexorable decline of the corporation.
Yet despite the fact that BlackBerry was getting wiped out in the marketplace, it had showed a serious reluctance to change its philosophy. Perhaps the BlackBerry Vienna and BlackBerry Priv are a step in the right direction in this regard.
Another recent decision which indicates that BlackBerry is intent on changing the way that it operates is its move to the Android operating system. Google’s proprietary software has had a huge influence over the mobile marketplace, and it does seem a rational and sensible decision for BlackBerry to ditch its own operating system in favor of the market leader. This indicates a flexibility that could serve the company well in the future.
Nonetheless, despite the fact that BlackBerry still intends to compete in the hardware marketplace, ironically selling software will be a massive part of its future. BlackBerry’s software unit is its biggest valuation driver, attributed to approximately one-third of the overall value of the company.
The decline of BlackBerry as a major smartphone market player is succinctly illustrated by the fact that its value per stock is currently around $7. Compare this to the $113 share price that Apple has achieved. It is evident that BlackBerry is swimming against the tide in the consumer electronics marketplace, but for the first time in many years, the company at least has room for optimism.
BlackBerry does have the comfort of retaining an almost cult-like following in the market thanks to the peculiar qualities of its products. These have continued to attract consumers to the BlackBerry range, and it seems that both the BlackBerry Priv and BlackBerry Vienna are attempting to build on this reputation, whle are also moving with the times. This may not be the final throes of BlackBerry, but instead the beginning of a brighter future for the company.