Research In Motion has found themselves in the limelight quite a bit lately, mainly due to plummeting stock prices, displeased and anxious investors (and shareholders), and the need (or lack thereof) for their unusual co-CEO structure. The question of whether RIM can ever truly re-enter the smartphone race has popped up countless times, and many have entirely thrown in the towel on the Waterloo-based smartphone makers.
BlackBerry performance in the current market has been greatly shadowed by the likes of iOS and Android. RIM tried to temporarily fix matters with BlackBerry 7 to limited success; former BlackBerry fanatics and a handful of newcomers were impressed by the improvements featured in RIM's latest devices. But in retrospect, not a lot has changed – the devices have a quickly approaching expiration date and BlackBerry is still behind the curve. Like I said, RIM was only trying to temporarily patch things up while they work on the larger and more long-term solution that should finally give them the chance to compete with more popular platforms: QNX.
But over the past week or so, RIM has been making their way to the headlines for an entirely different reason. A mysterious device – which was initially believed to be a fake by someone who had entirely too much time on their hands – surfaced. At first, nobody thought this thing could be real; it's simply too ugly, too boxy and looks like something that would have popped up in a Star Trek episode (I've also seen comparisons to a Delorean and RoboCop.). Then came the expected assumption that this thing is what we could expect for QNX phones, which were quickly (and thankfully) shot down with spec info released.
Since the buttons, specs and the majority of the ports match up almost exactly with the Bold 9900, some believed it was simply a pre-production engineer's device. But now we're catching wind that this device could possibly be a Porchse-designed 'Berry. Of course, if this is a BlackBerry that has been designed by Porsche, it's a pre-release and not quite ready for shelves. After all, it does have "PROCEEDING" plastered across the face. So the chances that it comes to consumers looking so rough cut are slim.
Even if someone else was in charge of the design, it's difficult to imagine that RIM would approve a device with such an atypical keyboard; RIM puts a lot of time, effort and pride into perfecting their fretboard QWERTYs. Totally abandoning that for a special device that could easily flop seems like the wrong move to make at this point – it would give off the impression that maybe they aren't focusing on QNX hard enough, which should certainly be priority number one. But RIM does have a track record for releasing exclusive devices in different colors and added perks, so the idea of them pairing up with an outside designer for a "limited special edition" BlackBerry isn't too far-fetched and possibly a smart marketing ploy.
We obviously don't know for certain what the "Knight" is just yet. It could be anything. For the sake of this article and speculation, however, we will assume this is a Porsche-designed BlackBerry, and it is in fact real. Limited edition, designer phones typically come with a hefty price tag, and being designed by Porsche could only affirm that assumption. I'm curious if anyone would actually line up for this special edition BlackBerry and how much they'd be willing to throw down.
Personally, I'm a fan of the 9900 series. I loved the 9930 and everything about it (save for the camera, which lacks auto-focus). But I found it hard to justify paying $250 on-contract for a BlackBerry, much less north of $500 unsubsidized. If this limited edition 'Berry sells for much over current asking price, I will gladly pass. And if I did buy one, it would be solely to try out the integrated trackpad and the estranged keyboard. Sure, it's ugly. But I was always a RoboCop and Back To The Future fan. I may have missed out on the 80s, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good retro 'Berry.
What about you guys and gals? Is this PorscheBerry the ugliest phone you've ever laid eyes on? Or is this the retro design of your dreams? How much would you pay for one? $1000? $2000? Sound off below!
Image via CrackBerry