Hello Android fans! This week us brought us a couple of hot new Android smartphones and some positively sizzling rumors about devices to come. More details surfaced about the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, as well as a first batch of reports about the Galaxy Note 5; OnePlus revealed its new phone would have a fingerprint scanner; the Honor 7 and Meizu MX5 launched in China; we got another look at the Moto G 2015; and a first credible render of the Android-powered BlackBerry Venice showed up.
Inside AA HQ
Organization has been the name of the game at AA HQ this week. With the summer lull on the way, we’re looking in the mirror and trying to come up with ways to serve you, our loyal readers, in a better, more informative, and more entertaining way.
One initiative we’re taking is putting a bigger focus on the vibrant UK market. We have several team members based in London, and they’re eager to improve our coverage of all things British. Enter our new UK carrier review series from Nirave Gondhia and the best UK phone lists by Rob Triggs. And we’re just getting started: expect more UK coverage in the future.
We want to make it easier for you to get answers to your questions about new Android devices, so going forward, we’ll be having Ask Us Anything posts on our forums and on the website for all devices of interest. We’re piloting the concept with the Nubia Z9 – feel free to jump in and ask away.
This Sunday, the prize in our giveaway is a Samsung Galaxy S6. Get your ticket here!
The stuff you shouldn’t miss
- Review: Bailey is very impressed by the Xiaomi Mi 4i, but is it fair to call it a flagship?/
- Feature: In this epic post, Nirave looks at the road to 4K and explains why 4K is just a matter of time
- Review: We love wearables, and the new Pebble Time is among the finest. Josh brings his opinions
- Review: Gaming on your TV on an Android console. The future is here and Lanh reviews it
- Roundup: Looking for some cool new apps to put on your device? Joe lists the finest apps from June
- Feature: Simon looks at Microsoft’s sinuous road in mobile and what lays ahead
- Review: Lanh reviews the Nubia Z9, an earnest flagship coming to the US straight out of China
Top news of the week
Note 5 and S6 Edge Plus rumors
- (Update: More Leaked Cases) Galaxy Note 5 leak shows some 6-appeal, sure to attract h8rs
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus images, dummies, measurements and case leaked
- Trademark filing for Galaxy S6 Edge Plus surfaces, gives more weight to the rumor
OnePlus 2’s slow-mo unveiling
- Alleged OnePlus 2 render surfaces, shows off all-metal body
- Three OnePlus Two variants spotted passing through Bluetooth SIG
- OnePlus 2 will feature a fingerprint scanner that’s “faster than Touch ID”
- OnePlus now giving away cardboard VR headsets, $5 shipping
Honor 7 is here
Another Moto G 2015 leak
This is the BB Venice
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Note: While this piece does contain various supportive evidence to buttress the theories contained within, the content itself is purely speculative and should not be taken as fact. Furthermore, the very product the piece revolves around, the BlackBerry Venice, has yet to be confirmed by BlackBerry itself.
Some years ago, the RIM BlackBerry product line could be seen everywhere. In the days before the modern smartphone, it was the go-to source for business productivity, for secure messaging, and for top tech. Things changed when Apple introduced the iPhone, and further metamorphosed once Google’s Android entered the scene. As time moved on, even the most loyal of BlackBerry users began to consider other options, even if a certain POTUS is smitten with the darling device. RIM, now having changed its name to BlackBerry, has been in a protracted period of turmoil not unlike that which has befallen HTC.
The company did make some minor waves when it decided to release its industry leading BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for Android, having previously allowed Android apps to be side-loaded onto its newer hardware. Up until a few days ago, the idea of Samsung and BlackBerry collaborating on a product might have seemed far-fetched, but looking back in time a few months, things were decidedly of a different doing, at least on the rumor mill.
Something with Samsung
This past January, an interesting story began circulating. Originating from Reuters, it alleged that Samsung was in talks to purchase BlackBerry for $7.5 billion. The report said that top executives from both companies had met to discuss the deal, and cited both insiders and confidential documents as sources. The story was widely covered, and at one point BlackBerry’s stock had a major upturn. In the end, however, both companies vehemently denied such negotiations, and the topic was essentially finished. Still though, some of us at Android Authority felt the idea was deserving of further consideration.
What if, however, there was more to these two company’s rumored doings than anyone had initially realized. What if, somewhere along the way between then and now, Samsung and BlackBerry had actually entered into a partnership that would see the production of a long rumored BlackBerry Android phone. A phone BlackBerry itself has said would not be outlandish to consider. And what if this phone, called the Venice, was going to be announced in the near future on AT&T?
Truth-be-told, it’s actually not such an outlandish idea to believe that Samsung might play a part in BlackBerry’s first Android phone. As you will read, there are several reasons in fact.
As many commentators around the internet have pointed out, the now-infamous press render of BlackBerry’s alleged Venice shares more than striking similarity to the Galaxy S6 Edge. Take a look for yourself:
And now compare it to the Galaxy S6 Edge:
Logically speaking, there are a number of reasons why a partnership between Samsung and BlackBerry would make a lot of sense:
1. Samsung’s fortunes are fading
While sales of the Galaxy S6 have been fantastic, they have fallen below the lofty goals that analysts had previously speculated. Likewise, competition in China is getting fiercer by the day, with new devices being prepped from companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and ZTE that are becoming more and more desirable. Having a long-term contract with an established company like BlackBerry would be a great source of security in terms of finances, especially in the cut-throat component market where OEMs are constantly shopping between suppliers to get the best guarantee and cost-performance. While BlackBerry certainly isn’t selling tens of millions of devices now, it potentially could should a refocus on Android pay off.
2. BlackBerry needs to cut costs
While the company has more-or-less staved off the total tail-spin it was facing before current CEO John S. Chen took control, it is definitely not in a position of power by any means. If Samsung were to offer it a lower manufacturing cost structure than its current partners, this savings would be most-certainly welcomed. Heck, Samsung could even be used to build most of the device itself, something that becomes more plausible if you factor in the display issue. If Samsung is manufacturing the display, why not give the entire contract to it, especially given that BlackBerry’s current manufacturing contract with Foxconn might not be the most desirable one there is.
3. Samsung is eager to sell more AMOLED
The Korean OEM has never been one to shy away from the benefits of SAMOLED displays, be it a function of power savings, color saturation, thinness, or even the ability to curve them. It commands near-total control over the OLED display market right now, yet the number of customers lined up to make use of the panels are quite limited at best. Whereas HTC once embraced AMOLED, it has since preached the power of S-LCD3. Motorola has made use of Samsung’s technology in several of its products, but then again none of them are mass market hits. By including a SAMOLED display in a BlackBerry however, especially a curved one, Samsung is thereby making use of its latest (and thereby most costly) technology.
4. BlackBerry needs to turn heads (as well as shoulders, knees, and even toes)
BlackBerry needs to make a truly impressive product if it wants to turn the tides with an Android device. Don’t get me wrong here, there are more than a fair share of BB fans around the world, and there is no reason to assume they wouldn’t follow the company into Android territory. The problem is, however, that Android territory is already a very crowded marketplace, and once a customer makes the decision to use Android, the need to stick with BlackBerry becomes questionably, especially given that the OEM’s BBM platform has been available to Android users for some time.
At the same time, if BlackBerry wants to attract more customers, which it clearly does want hence the embracing of Android, it needs to make a product that stands out from the pack. When even the Chinese, who have long been characterized as “copy cats” are making creative, innovative products that stand out, what can BlackBerry do? Including the S6’s edge display is by far the best way to make the Venice stand tall and proud, and you can be sure everyone will take notice of such a bold move from a company most have put out to pasture.
5. The Enterprise market is BlackBerry’s specialty
Security has always been a big issue in the business world, and one of the main reasons BlackBerry was so cherished was the enterprise-focused security suite build into the platform. One such example is the BES12 enterprise mobility management software, which features a range of tools and security options to help businesses keep on top of employee hardware. Samsung developed its KNOX platform in an effort to make in-roads, and indeed it paid off with Google adopting it and the U.S. Government allowing it.
Late last year, the two companies joined forces to promote their services. Samsung would stand to benefit from any such partnership as far as security goes, something that couldn’t come at a better time amid the current crisis of vulnerability the Korean conglomerate now faces. Given that Samsung has already shown an eagerness to pre-load Microsoft apps onto its devices, it wouldn’t be a stretch to find it also seeking to bundle BlackBerry security elements as well. BlackBerry could get a larger market for its services, and Samsung in turn, would get a fantastic package to impress potential enterprise-level clients.
Margin of Error
Given that LG also has shown a display prototype that has curved sides on either end, it’s technically possible that LG could be the supplier of this alleged product’s panel. Given that no product as of yet makes use of LG’s technology, it would be of great financial benefit for the Korean OEM to find a taker and maker as soon as possible so as to cash-in on its hard work.
There is also a possibility that the Venice won’t have any curved display at all, but rather curved glass that gives the illusion. Sharp made use of this kind of trick when it announced the Aquos Crystal last year, and more recently Oppo did as well. Making the display looked curved might be a bit more of a stretch in ingenuity, but depending on the way light was refracted, anything is possible.
V for Venice
BlackBerry fan-site N4BB has listed the following specs for the Venice, along with a release date of around November:
- 5.4-inch Quad-HD display
- 18 MP rear-camera
- 5 MP front-camera
- 1.8 GHz Hexa-core (Snapdragon 808 chipset) 64-bit
- 3 GB RAM
That the BlackBerry Venice itself exists seems to be a non-issue, for the company showed it off during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, albeit it as a “Slider” and, naturally, running BlackBerry’s OS. Still the presence of a curved display could be seen even then, and a lot can change in a few months to say the least. Back in March, rumors of Nokia getting cozy with Android were still limited to a single tablet, yet now there is talk of much more.
That BlackBerry would want to finally accept the reality of its situation and spring for Android would be the best possible move for it. The emergency of a vested, established player in the mobile industry into Google’s market would be a major boon to consumers looking for a secure platform, and it would also help to reinvigorate a company that has much to offer, if only were it to find a market to sell to.
There is also a potential benefit for Samsung that hasn’t been discussed, namely a possibility to make use of a certain, mysterious patent it filed earlier this year. The design looks oddly reminiscent of the Venice, and it’s possible the pop-out-part could be shifted to the bottom, internals rearranged, and a Samsung Slider (or BlackBerry Galaxy) produced.
While this piece should in no way be taken as anything more than pure speculation, hopefully we have made a reasonable case as to just why Samsung (or LG) might be interested in assisting with a BlackBerry product (be it Android, or otherwise). The question then comes down to just how many Android fans would be willing to purchase a BlackBerry, and likewise, how many BlackBerry customers would be willing to jump ship along with their sailor and swim to a more storied shore. Any thoughts?
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It seems @evleaks wasn’t done with leaking the rumoured Android-powered Blackberry device, the Blackberry Venice. One more render image popped up on evleaks’ Twitter account, this time showing the whole device from head to toe. We’re a bit confused as to how the device picture here fits in with the other image he leaked earlier in the day, as that device shows a physical keyboard whereas today’s has no hide nor hair of a keyboard. It’s possible though that evleaks has been leaking two different Blackberry devices at the same time, the first being a new separate Blackberry device with physical keyboard and the Blackberry Venice pictured here. We’re inclined to go with that understanding.
If that turns out to be true, the Blackberry Venice is going to be quite the looker as it incorporates nicely curved display – not quite to the degree of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, but nice nonetheless. The speaker at the bottom of the device looks a bit unusual given that it’s not the same thickness as the display, but we’ll have to see if this is actually the case. And of course, the device appears to be very obviously running Android Lollipop, which is why we’re talking about this at all.
What do you think about the Blackberry Venice? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Yet another render shows more of the Blackberry Venice appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Could BlackBerry be making the Android device we’ve all been waiting for?
With a 5.4-inch screen, Snapdragon 808 SoC, 3GB of RAM, Adreno 418 GPU, and a slide-out PHYSICAL KEYBOARD, could the BlackBerry Venice finally be the device that sees the company resurrect themselves in the market?
The device will be available by this November and will offer a feature that BlackBerry are renowned for (their keyboard) on an operating system that has the developers, community, and adoption that BlackBerry so longed for with their previous operating system.
The Android-powered BlackBerry Venice slider is AT&T-bound.
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 2, 2015
However, BlackBerry have been dabbling in Android virtualisation for a while. so it could be possible that the message has been lost in translation and it will still run BlackBerry’s own OS, but capable of hooking into Android apps, which would be disappointing. If the BlackBerry Venice truely is the companys’ first true Android device, then we’re looking at a device that, if executed correctly, could help BlackBerry back to the winning ways.
The post First alleged image of Android-powered BlackBerry Venice surfaces appeared first on AndroidGuys.
This morning, Evan Blass shared on Twitter an image of what is said to be an Android phone developed by BlackBerry. The device, referred to as ‘Venice’, seemingly has front-facing speakers and and curved edges, two features that are appearing more frequently this year. The display is also slightly lifted from the body of the device.
Looking at the screen, you will see applications that are not just BlackBerry or Google’s. There are pre-installed apps such as BBC News and Skype. These are in addition to shortcuts that allow users to quickly call or message contacts. BlackBerry has a history in enterprise and Venice seems to be skewing that way.
An upcoming device from BlackBerry, according to Blass, is allegedly heading to AT&T in the near future. This could mean that we are finally seeing BlackBerry’s take on Android after last month’s report that the company was considering the release of hardware powered by Android. The exact specifications of Venice or whatever phone AT&T will get remains unknown but we should know shortly when the devices becomes official.
Source: Evan Blass (Twitter)
Come comment on this article: BlackBerry ‘Venice’ render shows front-facing speakers and curved edges
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I’m beginning to think that @evleaks isn’t really retired. In yet another leak from his supposed retirement, noted tech leaker Evan Blass a.k.a. evleaks has leaked what appears to be our first look at the rumoured Android-powered Blackberry smartphone. Much like the rumours we have heard, the image depicts a smartphone device that has a physical keyboard attached to the bottom – ironically, what is probably on the screen above it appears to be an on-screen keyboard, but that’s just extraneous detail. Also what’s notable from what little we can see are the Android Lollipop soft keys centred at the bottom of the screen, proving (if this image is legitimate) that Blackberry really is going with Android for a device in the near future.
Apart from the image itself, evleaks also says that this device is known as the Blackberry Venice – whether that’s just an internal name or the official name is up for discussion, but we’re guessing it’s just internal. Furthermore, the Venice is allegedly going to be sold at AT&T; it’s unclear whether this is an exclusive deal or evleaks only knows of the AT&T variant so far, but it’s all intriguing news at this point.
What do you think about the Android-powered Blackberry smartphone pictured here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The post Alleged first shot of Android-powered Blackberry smartphone shows physical keyboard appeared first on AndroidSPIN.
Evan Blass or “Evleaks” came out on Twitter today to announce Blackberry’s new phone the “Venice”. He also said it was heading to AT&T soon. He later posted the picture you see above which looks to be a Blackberry Passport, but has a Android keyboard. The entire image is not clear as to exactly what the phone will look like, but one thing that is strange is it features a physical keyboard and an onscreen keyboard.
We have been hearing a lot of talk lately that Blackberry will be coming out with an Android powered smartphone, but it was only just talk. This may be the first actual leak of what is probably a test device. Possibly using an existing Blackberry Passport to test out the spacing etc of the Android operating system on it’s peculiar square screen?
Come comment on this article: Is this Blackberry’s first Android smartphone?
Rumors of a fully Android-powered Blackberry device popped up again last month, and today Evan Blass aka evleaks has posted a picture showing a glimpse of the phone. Specs for the alleged “Venice” popped up on N4BB a couple of weeks ago, calling it a slider with a 5.4-inch screen, 18MP rear camera and 1.8GHz Hexa-core CPU. According to Blass, the Venice will run Android, and is coming to AT&T first.
Also, /this/ pic.twitter.com/DL9BzAMEC4
– Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 3, 2015
The Android-powered BlackBerry Venice slider is AT&T-bound.
– Evan Blass (@evleaks) July 2, 2015
Source: Evan Blass (Twitter)
Reports have been surfacing for some time about a rumored Android-powered handset made by BlackBerry, and those rumors began to really pick up steam just a few weeks ago. This mystery handset will supposedly come with a slide-out keyboard and will be launched sometime this fall, though not many other details have been revealed quite yet. With that said, we might have just received a few more tidbits of information, courtesy of retired leaker, @evleaks.
According to the tweet sent out earlier today, BlackBerry Venice will be the name of the smartphone, and it will, in fact, feature a slide-out keyboard. Not only that, but apparently the device is also headed to AT&T. We’re not sure if this means the device will be an AT&T-exclusive or not, just that the carrier is planning to sell the device.
Read more: 4 ways BlackBerry can be unique on Android
While BlackBerry still has yet to confirm the existence of the Android device, John Chen, the company’s CEO, explained in an interview that the company is not opposed to building an Android device, as long as it’s secure.
It’s certainly been a long time since we’ve seen a notable Android handset come with a full QWERTY keyboard, so we wouldn’t be surprised if BlackBerry’s new slider becomes a hit among smartphone users, if and when it launches. For now, all of these are just rumors, so we’ll need to wait until we hear more from the company to know anything for sure.
What do you think? Would you be interested in an Android-powered slider built by BlackBerry? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
BlackBerry’s introducing a $1 privacy subscription for folks who continue to use Messenger on iOS, Android and its own platform. It will totally replace the old “timed and retracted messages” option, with “private chat” feature as its main draw. Private chats strip everyone’s name and icon in that window and automatically disappear after a certain period of inactivity to protect people from busybodies who love going through someone else’s phone and — hurts to admit they exist, but they do — backstabbers. In addition to private chat, the subscription also gives users the power to edit messages and includes the old timed and retracted messaging features.
The Android app gets a material design-inspired overhaul, as well, while the iOS version’s font size now depends on the user’s settings. BlackBerry and Android users should be able to download the update and pay for the subscription right now, but iOS devotees still have to wait for it pop up on iTunes.