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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

India

OPPO K3 is a fancier looking Realme X at the same price

The design is also inspired by OPPO Reno

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Realme operates as an independent brand now, but when it first started last year, it was technically a sub-brand of OPPO. Since then, the Indian smartphone market has changed quite a lot. Realme has been successful in taking up a huge chunk of the market, Xiaomi is slowly inching forward, and Samsung is no longer sleeping.

In the midst of all the noise, OPPO and Vivo are treading cautiously. They’re focused on grabbing the offline market that relies on brick and mortar stores. Taking a step forward, OPPO has launched a new phone called the K3 in India, and it looks eerily similar to the Realme X. In fact, even the specs sheet is pretty much the same.


What sets it apart is that it shares the new design language OPPO’s Reno line first introduced, which OPPO said will serve as the catalyst for the company’s smartphone development for the next 10 years.

While OPPO and Realme are busy sharing resources, it’s the best time for a consumer to buy a new phone. There are simply too many options to choose from and pricing has never been this competitive.

To start with, the OPPO K3 sports a 6.5-inch Full HD+ AMOLED display that also integrates a fingerprint scanner. The phone ships with ColorOS out of the box and relies on a Snapdragon 710 chipset to chug along.

The rear has a 16-megapixel primary camera coupled with a 2-megapixel secondary lens. The front camera is housed in a pop-up sliding module and consists of a 16-megapixel lens. The software incorporates standard AI-backed scene recognition and Ultra Clear Night View 2.0 feature. Lastly, backing these internals is a 3765mAh battery with VOOC 3.0 fast charging technology.

The 6GB+128GB option is priced at INR 16,990 (US$ 245) and the 8GB+128GB variant costs 19,990 (US$ 290). It’ll be available in Aurora Blue and Jade Black from July 23 via Amazon.in and offline retail stores.

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The Pixel 3a’s DxOMark score proves how capable its single-lens camera is

It’s just one point behind the Pixel 3

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Google has released three flagship phones till now and they’ve all had one thing in common: a single-lens camera on the rear. The internet giant is trying to make a mark in the smartphone industry by directly supplying the hardware, and it hasn’t actually worked out for them yet.

The Pixel brand intended to take on Apple’s iPhone lineup but is far from it. The idea that the maker of Android will also supply a closely-knit smartphone was exciting, but the end result has been lukewarm. The number of units shipped has been below expectations and a budget-friendly phone was built to counter this.


One thing that Google actually got right was the camera. Using its onboard image processing unit and constantly learning AI (algorithm), the phones are able to capture stunning pictures in well lit as well as low-light scenarios. In fact, the rear has a single-lens camera while the competition relies on an array of sensors to get the right mix.

This same setup of software and hardware was made available on the budget Pixel 3a. The results have been amazing like always. DxOMark released their review of the Google Pixel 3a’s camera and we’ve got a deeper insight on how good it actually is.

The Pixel 3a scores almost identically to the flagship Pixel 3’s DxOMark scores, in some cases, scoring higher thanks to better colors and noise. It has scored 100 points overall, with 103 for pictures and 95 for video.

In comparison, the iPhone XR scored 103 but costs a whopping US$ 749 against the Pixel 3a’s US$ 399.

Keep in mind, DxOMark scores are just for comparison and the testing rounds have a few flaws. For example, the Pixel 3a has scored pretty much like the Pixel 3, but the former lacks Google’s Visual Core chipset and yet able to score better. This either means the testing metrics are flawed, or Google’s chipset brings nothing extraordinary to the table.

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Revamped Galaxy Fold passed durability tests, ready for launch

When will we see it again?

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After much ado, the Galaxy Fold is finally ready for action… again. The controversial foldable smartphone passed its final durability test, prefacing an eventual relaunch.

Previously, Samsung called off its huge Galaxy Fold launch considering widespread durability issues. The foldable phone’s first testers found interesting ways to destroy the device’s flexible screen. Samsung forcibly shelved the project for further tweaking. The company even canceled pre-orders after delaying the launch. They went back to the drawing board.


After months in redevelopment, Samsung has sparked the conversation anew. Last month, the company declared that the phone is ready for manufacturing. They have a new design. However, how much better will it be? Samsung’s high hopes did not reveal the new design, leaving the foldable phone’s future shrouded in mystery.

Fortunately, a new report hints at a more optimistic outlook. According to an insider, Samsung has tested the new design under a team of experts. The testing team reportedly consisted of “industry professionals and professors at Seoul National University.” The Galaxy Fold passed gloriously. The phone will launch very soon.

In another report, Samsung is restarting marketing efforts for the foldable phone. The company is on an incredibly fast track, facing both internal and external pressure. On the inside, the Galaxy Fold faces an internal competition with the impending Galaxy Note 10 launch. The premium smartphone will launch next month.

Externally, Samsung is in an arms race with Huawei. Like Samsung, Huawei delayed its own foldable phone launch to prevent a similar mishap. However, they have also hinted at a renewed launch soon. Samsung and Huawei are locking horns for foldable phone supremacy.

Regardless, we’re finally getting the foldable phone again soon. All that’s left is to ensure the new design’s durability out in the real world.

SEE ALSO: Samsung’s rescheduled Galaxy Fold launch ‘will not be too late’

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