BlackBerry, as we had earlier reported, announced today it was getting out of the smartphone business to focus on creating software for mobile devices, finally making official the news that many had expected for a while.
Let us repeat: BlackBerry — one of the most recognizable names in the phone industry — is done designing and making, um, phones. Sort of. We’ll still see BlackBerry-branded phones in the future through licensing deals, but the company won’t have a hand in creating the said handsets.
Which is a shame because the company formerly known as RIM was responsible for some of the most memorable mobile devices ever produced. Here’s a look at 10 of them.
1. BlackBerry 850 (1999)
Say hello to the original. The 850 was the first device to carry the BlackBerry name. It was introduced as a two-way pager in 1999, and it had a thumb keyboard and a thumbwheel for scrolling.
2. BlackBerry 5810 (2002)
The BlackBerry 5810, although technically a Java-based communicator or personal digital assistant, was essentially the company’s first handset. It had no built-in mic or speaker so to make or receive a voice call, you needed to plug in a headset. It featured a monochrome display and was limited to 2G networks. And you thought your phone was all shades of bad?
3. BlackBerry 7100 (2004)
The 7100 series comprised several handsets that had one thing in common: a modified QWERTY keypad that appealed to the text-crazed public. It was also the first batch of BlackBerrys targeted at the average user, not at suit-wearing business types. It was light on multimedia features — no built-in media player, no camera — but it had a colored display and Bluetooth connectivity.
4. BlackBerry Curve 8300 (2007)
The Curve arrived in 2007, the same year the first iPhone came out. But it wasn’t as smart as Apple’s phone, wasn’t as smart as the BlackBerry Bold. It was meant for chatting and quickly typing out messages. More importantly, it was cheap and had mass appeal.
5. BlackBerry Storm (2008)
Released in 2008 and touted as the company’s best hope to rival the iPhone, BlackBerry’s first full-touchscreen device was a bold, promising product — notwithstanding the absence of WiFi. It sold well during its first year on Verizon’s shelves, but the carrier eventually had to replace all of the one million Storm phones sold in 2008 after customers complained about its iffy touch navigation.
6. BlackBerry Bold 9000 (2008)
The Bold was responsive; it could connect to 3G and WiFi networks and GPS satellites; it had good-sounding stereo speakers; it had one of the best displays of any smartphone you could buy at the time. Further still, it looked the part of a handset that appealed to mobile professionals.
7. BlackBerry PlayBook (2011)
BlackBerry’s first foray into tablet territory received mixed reviews at launch, though conversation around the PlayBook got more favorable after a software update ironed out most of the kinks and added apps — BlackBerry’s and Android’s — that made it function more like a standalone device. A hefty price cut that brought it down to $199 also made it a more viable competitor to the Kindle Fire, and the iPad if price was a roadblock.
8. BlackBerry Z10 (2013)
The Z10 was the first phone to run BB10. It did pretty much everything one would expect from a high-end BlackBerry except it didn’t have access to the breadth of apps Android and iOS devices had. Its battery life also left us wanting more. Which was unfortunate because we kind of liked the Z10.
9. BlackBerry Passport (2014)
The Passport was a curious device. It was weird-looking — with its big square screen and tiny rectangular keyboard; it ran BB10, BlackBerry’s struggling operating system; and even though it brought together many of BlackBerry’s best technologies, it divided critics and fans alike. But one thing most people agreed on was it should have shipped with Android.
10. BlackBerry Priv (2015)
The Priv was BlackBerry’s first Android device. It had a curved touch display and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Critics thought it was decent; fans loved it. But it had one major asterisk: a $700 launch price that proved too steep, too ambitious. BlackBerry eventually dropped the Priv’s price, but by then it was already too late. Consumers had made up their minds.
Image credit: Pocket-lint
Sony’s PlayStation is back, Xiaomi outs new Mi 8 variants: Weekend Rewind
Ending the week with nostalgic feels
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. The iconic PlayStation is back!
Let’s kick things off by taking a trip down memory lane. Almost 25 years after its debut, Sony is bringing back the iconic first-gen PlayStation and it will come as the PlayStation Classic.
It’s basically a miniaturized version complete with a pair of original controller replicas. What’s even more exciting is that fans of the original PlayStation will be able to relive 20 legendary titles including Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3!
2. Razer Phone 2 gets a launch date
Razer officially confirms the arrival of its second gaming smartphone — the Razer Phone 2. It succeeds the Razer Phone that was launched last November and based on earlier leaks, it’ll be a familiar-looking product.
The phone should sport the same body as its predecessor including the display with buttery-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, the internals will have beefier specs as well. We’ll know the low down real soon during its special event at California this October 10.
3. Apple is on the lead!
While it may be true that Apple didn’t sell the most number of smartphones, they still earned more than their competitors. According to the latest data from Counterpoint Research, Apple had the biggest share of industry profits during the second quarter of 2018.
For comparison, Apple earned 62 percent of the second-quarter smartphone profits. Samsung, which is the top-selling smartphone vendor, is responsible for just 17 percent of smartphone profits in the quarter. Huawei takes the third spot with eight percent of the profits.
4. A complete but affordable smartwatch
Huami, Xiaomi’s sub-brand in China, has a smartwatch that offers tremendous bang for your buck. The company just unveiled the Amazfit Verge and it’s got everything you could ask for in a wearable without the high price tag.
The Amazfit Verge has a GPS, heart-rate sensor, and a full-circle AMOLED display. It’s also equipped with a microphone and loudspeaker that allow voice calls through the smartwatch.
5. Xiaomi outs Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite
On a related note, Xiaomi also held a quick event to announce a few things including two new Mi 8 variants — the Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite.
In a nutshell, these are additions to the flagship Mi 8 family. The Mi 8 Pro is similar to the Mi 8 with the same specs like its Snapdragon 845 processor, up to 8GB of memory, and 128GB of expandable storage. Although, this model comes with an in-display fingerprint sensor.
As the name suggests, the Mi 8 Lite is a toned-down Mi 8 and comes with a midrange Snapdragon 660 chipset, dual rear cameras, and a 24-megapixel front camera. Both phones are initially available in China, but international availability is yet to be announced.
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
Singapore’s first iPhone XS buyer goes all out
He went for the 512GB storage!
Whenever new iPhones launch, a familiar scene is people lining up in front of Apple Stores long before launch date. The same is true in Singapore where the iPhone XS and XS Max officially became available on Friday, September 21.
We visited the Apple Store in Orchard Road and caught up with the first person to cop the new iPhones. His name is Daniel and he went all out getting two units of gold iPhone XS Max with 512GB of storage. Watch our interview with him.
The same situation is true elsewhere in the world. In countries like the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and more, lines formed as those who pre-ordered got ready to claim the new iPhones.
This is the first time that the two sizes of iPhones feature the same specs. In years past, there was always a plus model that had more features other than just having a bigger form factor. In 2018, the only difference is the screen size — 5.8 inches for the iPhone XS and 6.5 inches for the iPhone XS Max. Both phones are equipped with the new A12 Bionic processor. Apple says it’s their smallest and most powerful chip to date. Both also sport dual cameras.
The Apple Watch Series 4 also launched today. It’s a significant update to Apple’s primary wearable featuring medical advantages other than the usual improvements. As always, it still is a lifestyle gadget and comes with an array of available looks.
Apple iPhone XS unboxing: Beautiful gold color!
We have them early!
It’s now mid-September and if you’ve been following technology news, you’d know that means one thing: new iPhones from Apple. And if you’ve been following GadgetMatch closely the last few years, you’d expect us to be brewing content by now.
This year, we got them early. What we are unboxing the 5.8-inch model, dubbed the iPhone XS and the bigger variant, the iPhone XS Max. There’s also a more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone XR coming later in October.
The box has not changed much — it’s still the same minimalist white box with the image of the phone you’re getting. Inside are a packet with manuals and stickers, USB-A charging brick, Lightning cable, and a pair of Lightning EarPods (not AirPods, they just look alike).
It’s worth noting that the bundled charger is the regular adapter and cable from yesteryears, even if the new iPhones already support fast charging. To get fast charging on the iPhone XS and XS Max, you need to spend an additional US$ 75 for a Lightning to USB-C Cable and a 29W USB-C adapter.
Since omitting the 3.5mm headphone jack, these new iPhones are also the first ones to not include a headphone jack to Lightning dongle — an extra US$ 9 purchase if you ever need one.
Unlike previous years where you need to get the bigger model to have the best features iPhones have to offer, the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are essentially the same phones — the latter just has a bigger display and battery capacity.
The iPhone XS and XS Max also come in a new beautiful gold color, something similar to our favorite iPhone 8 and 8 Plus color from last year — a subtle, non-tacky shade of gold. A slightly darker gold but shiny stainless steel band also highlights the edges of the phones. Button and port placements have not changed, and the notch housing Apple’s TrueDepth Camera technology lives on.
We have more iPhone content coming in the next few days so make sure to stay tuned for that. Our unboxing video is also coming where we unboxed a new case color as well. Subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t yet.
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