BlackBerry has become the latest consumer products company to collaborate with Porsche Design, with the announcement of its limited edition P’9981 Smartphone. Porsche Design has a history of producing a range of sleek products and the link up with BlackBerry isn’t its first foray into the mobile handset market; however looking under the hood of this new phone suggests a largely underwhelming offer.
Back in 2007 the P’9521 was launched in association with Sagem and included a raft of exclusive features, including fingerprint reading technology to ensure user-security. Its only problem for many was the price, which took it out of the range of many consumers with a starting price of £800. Unfortunately BlackBerry and Porsche haven’t changed this standpoint on price, with the new P’9981 rumoured to cost £1,275.
So what does this new phone feature to justify its price?
The phone itself looks like the slightly more affluent brother of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and features an enhanced 1.2 GHz processor with 8 GB of onboard memory; an additional 16GB micro SD is included in the box. It runs off BlackBerry 7, which is beginning to show its age. To some, this will be a bit like putting a Ford Fiesta engine into your brand new Porsche 911. We’re not far from the launch of BlackBerry 10 and it may have made sense to wait until this was ready before launching; however maybe this tells you all you need to know about how ready BB 10 really is.
There is an extremely attractive full edge-to-edge QWERTY keyboard, which is also supported by the 640 x 480 resolution, 2.8 inch touchscreen, giving you the best of both worlds. Or so it would seem. This is almost half the screen size of many next generation smartphones and this attempt to please everyone all of the time may be one design decision too far.
Where the Siemen’s collaboration used cutting-edge technology, BlackBerry has introduced innovation though an app. The Wikitude World Browser app helps users to find, identify, access and forward relevant information instantly, which sounds very similar to what our friends at Google do quite well. However this is a purpose-built app for P’9981 smartphone users. They can read reviews on restaurants, theatres and exclusive events as and when they find or discover them. This appears to be designed as an exclusive, socially-powered app to elevate the status of its owners, however it doesn’t necessarily have the same headline grabbing ability as secure fingerprint technology.
On the surface, this is a stunning looking handset, as you would expect from Porsche Design, however under-the-hood, it may not live up to its astonishing price.
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