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BlackBerry finally gives up on creating its own phones

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The headline above was something we were expecting to write one day, but now that it’s happened, it’s still quite sad. BlackBerry’s original smartphone designs are no more.

In a lengthy PDF detailing BlackBerry’s recent financial highs and lows, the Canadian company chose to stick to what it’s good at, specifically software and security services. But this doesn’t mean that no more handsets are coming out of this development; all BlackBerry phones released from now on will simply be designed and manufactured by third-party hardware partners.

This process actually began over a month ago. The once high-end smartphone brand synonymous with QWERTY keyboards released the DTEK50, which is a $300 full-touchscreen Android handset. It’s something you wouldn’t imagine BlackBerry doing back when it was at the top of the smartphone world over half a decade ago.

blackberry-dtek50

BlackBerry DTEK50

It was a sign of things to come. The terribly named DTEK50 was just an Alcatel Idol 4 with BlackBerry’s branding plastered all over it. Once rumors surfaced of a successor in the DTEK60 being cooked up, which looks to be a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4S, the unfortunate announcement we’re hearing now becomes less of a surprise.

BlackBerry’s woes began when it couldn’t catch up to the momentum built by Google and Apple’s operating systems. Realizing that physical keypads were no longer desired by the majority of consumers, its software developers went hard at work on a more touchscreen-friendly BB10 OS, which first debuted on the Z10 and Q10 in early 2013. Its gesture-based interface introduced several good ideas outside of the usual Android and iOS functionality, but it arrived way too late.

Once that experiment failed, BlackBerry gave in and accepted the open-source Android system on October 2015. The Priv combined the richness of Android’s touchscreen interface with BlackBerry’s signature keyboard sliding out from underneath. Together with the company’s added security features, it seemed like a great deal, until everyone realized it cost $700 at launch.

blackberry-priv

BlackBerry Priv

Overall sales dwindled in the past few years, to the point of having less than one percent of the worldwide smartphone market share. That alone was a signal to retire.

On the bright side, we still have good memories to live with. Remember that awesome Bold 9900? It still stands as one of the best physical keyboard-equipped smartphones of all time. There was also the Curve 9220, which was the Nokia 3310 of BlackBerries. And who could forget the unjustly underrated PlayBo— wait, never mind. Even BlackBerry chose to forget it ever existed.

[irp posts=”7249″ name=”BlackBerry has a new security-focused flagship phone”]

Source: Business Insider

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Google asks smartphone makers to pay for Play Store

In response to EU’s ruling

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Google Play

Months ago, Google landed in a scalding pool of Europe’s hot water. The European Competition Commission accused the company of anti-competition practices. Among other things, Google forced smartphone makers to bundle Chrome and Google Search as a requirement. According to the commission, the stipulation gives the company an unfair advantage over its rivals.

Eventually, the Commission hammered down a guilty verdict. From this, Google paid a record-breaking fine to the European Union. Besides this, the company had to stop the indicted practice.

Now, Google is finally implementing a resolution for the guilty verdict. Starting this month, the company will change its offered bundles for smartphone makers in the EU.

As opposed to enforcing the bundle, Google will offer Android’s apps for a price. Instead of a strong-arm strategy, Google’s new strategy aims for the best of both worlds. Smartphone companies can opt out of the program. Historically, some companies have already opted out of Android’s app ecosystem. For example, Chinese smartphones often implement their own variants because of China’s prohibitions.

Additionally, Google will loosen its regulations against forked versions of its Android operating system. Some smartphone makers alter Android’s inner workings for their own uses. Most notoriously, Xiaomi uses its own MIUI software. Previously, the bundling scheme swayed the deal towards Google’s favor, despite any proprietary changes. With looser regulations, companies can fork all they want.

Now, companies can sell smartphones running forked Androids. That is, if they also sell a separate smartphone with Google’s untouched software.

Amid all these changes, Android remains as free software for smartphones. Android can maintain its status as the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. However, if this issue elicits any questions, it’s this: How will Google’s new schema affect the casual consumer? Right now, we’ll have to wait and see.

SEE ALSO: You might need to pay Google for Android soon

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Nokia X7 goes official in China with PureDisplay and Zeiss cameras

It could be the Nokia 7.1 Plus for the international market

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Image credit: HMD Global

HMD Global has announced a new smartphone for the Chinese market. It’s called the Nokia X7, which sounds similar to the old Symbian-powered Nokia phone from 2011, and has near-flagship specs with competitive pricing.

The phone has a 6.18-inch Full HD+ display with a notch. The face of the phone has a bit of a chin with the Nokia logo, but HMD Global claims the phone has an 85.6 percent screen-to-body ratio.

Image credit: HMD Global

The display is one of the strengths of the Nokia X7. It’s called the PureDisplay, a marketing term of Nokia for their HDR-enabled screens. The panel also has 500 nits of brightness, 1500:1 contrast, 96 percent NTSC coverage, and DCI-P3 support. Basically, it’s a high-end display similar to flagship phones’.

Another main feature of the Nokia X7 is its cameras. It’s got dual rear shooters: a main 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor with f/1.8 aperture plus optical image stabilization and a secondary 13-megapixel sensor for depth sensing. The rear cameras feature AI recognition, Dual Pixel AF, and Zeiss-branded lenses.

For selfies, there’s a 20-megapixel front-facing camera hiding in the notch that can do pixel binning for better low-light selfies.

Image credit: HMD Global

Inside the phone is the new Snapdragon 710 processor that’s paired with up to 6GB of memory and up to 128GB of expandable storage. It runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but the update to Android Pie is coming soon.

Sealed inside the Series 6000 aluminum and glass body of the phone is a respectable 3500mAh battery. The phone even comes with an 18W USB-C fast charger that’s claimed to fill half of the battery in just 30 minutes.

Other specs of the phone include a 3.5mm audio port, dual-SIM capabilities, microSD card support, and VoLTE.

The Nokia X7 is now available for pre-order in China. It comes in blue, red, silver, and black color options. Starting price is at CNY 1,700 (US$ 245) for the 4GB+64GB model, CNY 2,000 (US$ 290) for the mid-tier 6GB+64GB, while the most expensive version with a 6GB+128GB combo is priced at CNY 2,500 (US$ 360).

The phone is expected to be the upcoming Nokia 7.1 Plus for the international market.

SEE ALSO: Nokia touts an ‘asset-light’ approach to smartphone success

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Huawei Mate 20 X is company’s ultimate gaming smartphone

It’s absolutely huge!

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Out of nowhere, Huawei introduced yet another member to the Mate 20 family: the Mate 20 X.

It joins the regular Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, and Porsche Design Mate 20 Pro. While each of those have their own specialties, the Mate 20 X is simply Huawei’s ultimate gaming smartphone.

If you recall, this was the gaming phone Huawei teased earlier this year, alongside the foldable smartphone that everyone is so excited to see.

Even though it has the same Kirin 980 chipset and camera setup as its siblings, the Mate 20 X sets itself apart with a much larger 7.2-inch OLED display and massive 5000mAh battery.

And since this is a gamer-centric device, an optimized cooling system is in place to prevent overheating while pushing pixels at fast frame rates. However, what’s more interesting is the compatibility with Huawei’s new M-Pen, which is a direct answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Note series.

The Mate 20 X will retail for EUR 899 for the 6GB+128GB variant beginning on October 26. Midnight Blue and Phantom Silver are the two available colors.

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