After doing some image analysis on the photo BlackBerry provided of the BB10 slider on Twitter, it seems the quick tease may have actually disclosed a bit more of the device than the initial impressions let on. The real talk point was the large “dual curved” screen. If you’re mobile stunted, this type of curved screen has been used on the Samsung Edge line of devices as a unique differentiator from standard all touch factor.
Following a few partnerships for Samsung KNOX and the enterprise space — BlackBerry has been strategically injecting themselves on the side of Android, and moreover Samsung, to parlay against the growing Apple mobile ecosystem. The move is a decidedly difficult change of pace for a company that was so siloed several years ago in terms of its ecosystem. Here’s a brief look back at the growing BlackBerry/Samsung alliance:
- November 13, 2014 – BlackBerry To Secure Samsung Devices
- February 25, 2015 – BlackBerry Partnering With Google To Enhance Android Work
- March 1, 2015 – BlackBerry Bring Enterprise Services to KNOX and the New Samsung Galaxy S6
- March 14th, 2015 – BlackBerry Subsidiary SecuSMART, IBM and Samsung Launch Tablet
Have I beat a dead horse, or a Trojan horse? BlackBerry’s leadership seems to keenly understand that to ramp up their software business, they need to monetize off the successes of the mobile giants today – to enhance competitor hardware with sticky BlackBerry services and experiences that will multiple the traction of this companies continued transition.
But John Chen knows the books and he knows that the biggest chunk of BlackBerry’s sheet is hardware. With 90% of the devices last quarter being BlackBerry 10, he understands that to his customers he is the ONLY end-to-end secure mobility solution that integrates hardware as a critical access link in the chain. What BlackBerry lacks in popular applications they more than make up for in architecture. It’s devices like the BlackBerry Slider that remain a vital piece of the overall BlackBerry ecosystem.
So here’s the image BlackBerry offered on Twitter:
Up front, we can collect a few things:
- The device has a typical “portrait” sliding mechanism
- The slider sports a dual curved all touch display with an integrated bezel
- The device has a sleep/wake button on the middle-left side
- The slide has a four row keyboard with a standard layout
- It’s clearly not a final hardware revision by any stretch
Upon closer inspection and better lighting, it looks like there’s more to that bottom lip than the initial image suggests. When you really look at this, it’s hard to say it’s even a real device and not just some parts hacked together for a quick show.
Below we have re-sized, cropped and enhanced the lighting to better showcase some small accents:
Now I’m starting to see why we saw the BlackBerry device front and the white variants back. To hide some of the more noticeable changes to the keyboard half. As shown by the blue arrow above, there seems to be a full width grill indicating a front facing speaker, not unlike those that we see on nearly every HTC all touch.
And this would make sense considering BlackBerry has great speaker phones. A front facing speaker would make even more sense in terms of a mobile device that is great for conference calls or staff meetings. It also gives some utility to that bottom chin which would blend well with the aesthetic and usability of the phone even with the keyboard hidden.
Now if you look at the shape and design of the keys in the Slider images and compare them to the Passport and Classic keyboard, you’ll see immediately that the key style integrated in the slider is the same design, sculpt and shape of the Passport keys, which leads us to believe that the Slider will indeed have a 4 row touch enabled keyboard.
Classic has keys that curve and slope from top to bottom – between letters, this creates a funnel like shape. On the Passport and Slider keyboard, the lighting suggests the sculpt of the key is very angular. Straight cuts at a diagonal between the letters which create a diamond shape. This diamond shape between the keys easily identifies with the current styling of the BlackBerry’s touch enabled keyboard. In the image below, you can see the diamond shape between the center letters: TY, GH and VB.
Let me know your thoughts on the BlackBerry 10 slider. If these preliminary (read: dummy prototype) images have anything to say with what’s to come later this year, I think we’re all in for a nice treat.