BlackBerry Hamburg and Rome will help the company push further into Android territory
BlackBerry took on a gamble when it finally decided to build an Android-powered BlackBerry smartphone, which the world now knows as BlackBerry Priv. A slider-based Android BlackBerry, the Priv showcases the prowess of a BlackBerry in an Android ecosystem. The phone received both praise and criticism and has sort of staved off the closure of BlackBerry’s hardware division for now.
But things just don’t end here; the company needs to continue introducing newer and improved Android-powered BlackBerries to see how the market reacts. BlackBerry is currently working on two devices, dubbed as “Hamburg” and “Rome.” These are internal development names and haven’t been officially announced by BlackBerry yet. The only thing BlackBerry’s chief John Chen has confirmed is that one or two new devices will be coming before the end of this year.
The interesting bit is that the CEO mentioned BlackBerry devices, which doesn’t necessarily mean they will be Android-powered. However, given the dire situation the Canadian company is in, and the spotlight it has garnered with the Priv, we have every reason to believe the two devices will be Android-powered as well.
We are slowly becoming fond of the rumored BlackBerry Hamburg. The supposed leaked renders circulating on the Internet are not actually leaks, but concept designs by Dylan Habkirk — the founder of BlackBerry Central.
The device sketches for Hamburg show that it borrows largely from BlackBerry Z30, with a full touch-screen. BlackBerry Priv provided the best of both worlds, introducing a full touch-screen Android-cum-BlackBerry experience along with a slider physical keyboard that stayed true to BlackBerry roots. Hamburg and Rome break this down into two different experiences: Hamburg is said to be a full touch-screen Android BlackBerry, while Rome is rumored to be a touchscreen-plus-keyboard, something similar to the BlackBerry Passport.
A benchmark report claiming to be of BlackBerry Hamburg is making rounds on the Internet. The listing number is STH100-x and provides the first glimpse of the alleged Hamburg specs. It packs a 5.2-inch 1080p display with Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 under the hood. It is supported by 3GB RAM with 16GB internal memory, of which 10GB will be available for users. It sports a 12MP rear sensor with AF and an 8MP front snapper. The report also states that the Hamburg will run Android 6.0.1 out-of-the-box.
Now the spec sheet mentioned above does not scream high-end. In fact, the inclusion of Snapdragon 615 makes us wonder, why not Snapdragon 820 — the powerful processor chosen by major flagship smartphones? The benchmark report comes from GFXBench and is not a final accurate description of what the device actually is. Usually, many things change by the time the final device is released.
That might be the case here as well, but nothing’s for sure. BlackBerry does plan to release two new Android handsets in 2016, possibly for the mid-tier with a price tag of $450 at least. However, Android is a crowded market with all OEM partners focused on touch-screens that look alike. In such a situation, BlackBerry’s only hope of standing out from the crowd is to offer something unique, and the rumored BlackBerry Rome makes the cut. According to Dylan Habkirk, Rome sports a special hardware button with a unique function that will benefit both governments and consumers, something that’s not there in any other device in the market. If we were to make a guess, it might have something to do with privacy and security. With the flip of a switch users could enter a secure encrypted mode for extra privacy. Maybe, but who knows. Let’s wait for BlackBerry to make it official.