Blackberry has been known as producing some of the most innovative mobile phones on the market. While models such as the P9983, the Passport and the Z30 have taken centre stage, there are rumours circulating that this company may indeed be considering a return to the slider models from years earlier. Some reports suggest that we may see such a design unveiled as soon as the second quarter of this year. While this has not yet been confirmed by CEO John Chen, the company did indeed state that a unique system is set to be displayed at the 2015 Mobile World Congress.
Concept or Reality?
The main question revolves around whether or not any slider variant is a concept phone or one that is intended for the mainstream audience. Naturally, any such venture would require a substantial amount of investment from Blackberry and arguably, a retooling of many existing factories across the globe. It should also be kept in mind that the general audience for mobile phones has become quite accustomed to tactile screens. So, any departure from this norm could be a risky venture.
On the Distant Horizon
Rumours aside, it is likely that any slider is not just around the technological corner. The main reason for this observation is that the only device expected to make a debut in the first half of 2015 is the Blackberry Rio. This is more mainstream and seems to adhere to the standards that most other mobile phone providers have embraced. Still, it is also known that the company is planning to unveil a 12-month “road map” that may very well hint at things to come during the latter half of this year.
Why Such a Potential Shift?
A return to a rather “outdated” slider design raises some important questions. While this concept was one of the hallmarks of Blackberry during the halcyon days of early mobile devices, a shift in reverse could point to a few interesting conclusions.
First, it is known that there have been problems with touch screens and their responsiveness in the past. This led to a great deal of frustration amongst users who paid an appreciable amount of money. Also, some analysts view many of the modern designs as having taken on a rather “cookie-cutter” appearance. This is somewhat true. From a distance, it is often quite difficult for the average user to differentiate between a Samsung, a Blackberry or even an iPhone.
A final note to keep in mind is that a slider could very well be a way for Blackberry to increase their visual footprint across a market that is defined by an increasing amount of competition. Also, the concept of price comes to mind; will a slider model be cheaper to purchase than a touch screen? There is no doubt that these are but a few of the concepts that the engineers at Blackberry are taking quite seriously. The last thing that this massive company needs is a well-publicised “flop” when faced with such stiff competition as Apple.
As some have even been quoted as stating that the upcoming names for these sliders are Visa and Victoria, there may very well be some substance behind these rumours. Still, it is likely that little will be revealed until the second half of 2015.