BlackBerry Venice Smartphone Photos Leak Online - InformationWeek
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8/31/2015
02:05 PM
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BlackBerry Venice Smartphone Photos Leak Online

Images of the long-rumored BlackBerry Venice, which features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and uses Google's Android OS, have leaked onto the Web.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+: Side By Side
Samsung Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+: Side By Side
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The BlackBerry Venice, the beleaguered company's long-rumored smartphone that runs Google's Android operating system, may be close to entering the market after photos of the unconfirmed device showed up on a pair of Vietnamese-language sites: Tinhte and Techrum.

The leaked photos show a handset sporting a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and BlackBerry's logo on the device. There is also a roughly textured back battery cover and casing that could make the smartphone easier to hold.

The two batches of photos show a device that also looks very similar to one that had leaked in August on Twitter by Evan Blass, a tech industry blogger with a history of leaking information about upcoming phones. Earlier this year Blass posted photos of LG's G4 Android smartphone.

If all this proves true, the Venice would be the company's first smartphone running Android, although BlackBerry has reached out in the other direction on the software side of things by bringing its messaging application -- BBM -- to Apple iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices.

(Image: Tinhte)

(Image: Tinhte)

BlackBerry users also have access to a host of applications through Amazon's Android-based Appstore, as well as a selection of apps designed in-house.

Though a powerhouse player in the years before the iPhone re-invented the mobile game, and before devoted "Crackberry" obsessives left the platform in droves, BlackBerry has struggled for years to stay relevant while watching its marketshare decimated by Apple and a host of low-cost Android devices.

The company currently offers six smartphone models, half of which include a physical keyboard, which makes BlackBerry unique among smartphone manufacturers.

In addition to the physical keyboard, BlackBerry's other core areas of focus were on battery performance, limited use of carrier network resources, and secure messaging and email -- attributes that were designed to appeal to business users who also jumped on the iPhone bandwagon.

BlackBerry was caught off-guard by the iPhone and was thus doomed to the basement of the smartphone market. Now, the company is trying to make a comeback.

In June, images of a handset called the BlackBerry Passport 2, or Oslo, surfaced on the technology blog N4BB, with photos showing a BlackBerry handset with a very similar design to the company's current Passport smartphone. The Passport was released in October. It features a 4.5-inch square display and the company's trademark physical QWERTY keyboard.

[Read more about smartphones and enterprise security.]

However, the corners of the device appear to be much rounder than the sharp edges of the Passport are. The Oslo -- which may just be a temporary moniker for the smartphone -- also sports a silver plastic-and-steel frame.

By the end of 2014, BlackBerry's share of the global mobile operating system market stood at only 0.4%, according to an IDC report from February. That number represented a decline of nearly 70% from that of 2013.

However, CEO John Chen said he anticipates 10 million units will be shipped in 2015, returning the company to profitability and marking a 72% increase over the 5.8 million units shipped in 2014.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 11:30:10 PM
Re: Staying Relevant
@shakeeb,

I do agree that some business prefer blackberry's security solution over Android/Iphone, but that market is increasingly shrinking.

It's more and more companies that I see adopting iOS/Android as there user base and doing away with there old blackberrys.

I recognize the great effort that blackberry has done in trying to keep the lights on, and perhaps they'll settle for a market where they can dominate, but there days as the king of the hill are over.
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 11:05:41 PM
Re: BlackBerry Venice Smartphone Photos Leak Online
@zerox203 - One good reason I like blackberry is their QWERTY keyboard. This is much more convenient than an ordinary touch screen for most business users.  
shakeeb
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shakeeb,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 11:02:14 PM
Re: Staying Relevant
@mejiac - I am impressed to see Blackberry coming up with some fresh ideas to recover. They should also keep in mind that some Business customers still like their professional style. 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 9:26:22 PM
Re: BlackBerry Venice Smartphone Photos Leak Online
Hmm... looks good to me! I don't know what it is, but something about buying a phone that's not from one of the major brands (funny to be saying that about Blackberry) appeals to me. Like with Commodore phone Dave posted about some time ago, I'm curious to get it in my hands and find out all the nuances. Speaking of which, I really like the idea of a full keyboard folding down like that. I still find texting via touch a little awkward (trust me, I'm not as old as that makes me sound), and as long as it can be kept out of the way, I think there's still a place for the keyboard. If this is the real deal, I'll have to keep my eyes out for a price point.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
8/31/2015 | 3:35:47 PM
Staying Relevant
Great Article,

The decisions and outcome of what happen to Blackberry has been so well covered that it has become an example of what NOT to do as a corporate company (it'll probably be mentioned in business classes, if it already hasn't)

Even thought the design looks solid, I don't think this will fly, only because when holding the phone, there's extra manipulation required just to be able to type. Even though with today's larger screen are expected to be used using two hands, users still like to be able to fulfil some tasks one handed. This devices doesn't seem to work on that type of model.

IMHO...too little too late...Blackberry had it shoot to make a combat, and the entire community was hoping for it,but it was an epic fail for various reasons (the major one being lack of App support, which Windows is still struggling with, althought with Windows 10 things I hope should improve)

What does the community think?
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