Finally, it’s here: BlackBerry Venice — the first phone to combine the power of Android and the power and convenience of the BlackBerry keypad.
However, with an expected price of Rs 50,000 plus and a humongous display of 5.8 inch (not 5.4 inch as reported elsewhere), can the Venice really turnaround BlackBerry’s fortunes in India?
ALL ABOUT THE KEYS
Of course, the biggest draw of the Venice will be the design and convenience of having a physical keypad along with a full Android experience, plus the security and enterprise features infused into the software by the company.
The phone, expected to be released in India by end-of October or early November, will be the answer to the prayer of all those who have been longing for an Android phone with a physical keypad.
While full-touch phones are great for media consumption (watching movies, browsing websites etc), for media creation (writing an email and so on), it’s really difficult to replace a physical keypad.
Though technologies such as swipe inputs and predictive text have made typing on glass slightly more manageable, for those who type out a hundred emails a day, it has always been worth moving to something like the BlackBerry Passport which has its own physical qwerty keypad. At present, there are no Android phones with physical qwerty keypads with a RAM of 1 GB or more.
However, making the transition also meant tying yourself into the BlackBerry operating system, and not having many key applications that work only on Android or iOS.
The Venice is the answer to that dilemma.
However, the BlackBerry Venice is not just an Android phone with a keypad. It’s much more than that.
For example, it will, without doubt be the best built Android keypad phone in India, or even anywhere in the world. (see the video at the bottom)
Secondly, it will also bring the trust, reliability and security of BlackBerry software into an Android device and companies will no longer have to worry about whether their BYOD
policy is a security threat to their networks on not. At least not as much as they used to.
There are many companies in India who insist on their top level employees using BlackBerry to access their emails due to such concerns, even though such employees are envious of the phones that their teenage sons and daughters use.
In addition to this, the device — with a Snapdragon 808 chipset and 3 GB of RAM — will also be one of the most powerful phones executives can reach out for. In comparison, the current favorite, Apple iPhone, has a RAM of 1 GB.
WON’T BE A MASS DEVICE
However, this is not to say that the BlackBerry Venice is going to be a mass device. BlackBerry will continue to struggle with the one area where it has always faced problems in India – pricing.
The Venice will be priced well outside the reach of 90% of smartphone customers in the country. Though final numbers are not available, it is expected to be priced above Rs 60,000. That is at least 20% more than the launch price of BlackBerry Passport.