BlackBerry: The Dark Horse Is Making A Comeback

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Quadcore? NFC? 70,000 apps? Sounds like Microsoft should watch out.Where has RIM been in the last two years? Apart from regurgitating their BlackBerry Bold smartphones, most people assumed they were having lunch. Or probably playing golf.

But over the last few months, juicy BlackBerry 10 leaks have reached the press. Each one was more enticing than the next until we ended up here: two weeks out from the official BlackBerry unveiling and we’re excited.

The Battalion

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Recently RIM enjoyed 15,000 application submissions in the span of two days. Currently its application market has 70,000 apps and when BlackBerry 10 launches, GSMArena claims they’ll have 20 million songs too. These figures might reside in Apple’s shadow, but RIM doesn’t have the ecosystem-king in its crosshairs. It’s fighting for spot number three against Microsoft and this should be enough ammunition to wage war against the Redmond giant.

Overnight Visa gave RIM’s NFC-based mobile payment solution their seal of approval. RIM’s Secure Element Manager (SEM) will allow users to make ‘tap-and-go’ style payments from any device equipped with Near Fields Communications (NFC) technology. The ramifications of this small victory are huge as companies, including market leaders, are still trying to crack NFC’s potential.

 

“The approval from Visa of RIM’s SEM solution is an important step in that it will enable carriers to support Visa-issuing banks and financial institutions,” said Frank Maduri, senior director of NFC Services and Trusted Service Manager (TSM) product management at RIM.

“We now offer carriers a robust solution with around-the-clock global support that works on any NFC-capable device and meets the stringent technology and usability guidelines for Visa.”

This shows RIM isn’t just playing catch up; they have men out in the frontline working on new technologies too.

Further inspiring confidence is the announcement 1,600 businesses in the US have signed up for the company’s BlackBerry 10 training program. 1,600 and the platform isn’t out yet. The program covers refinements and changes to the new operating system in an effort to ease its users’ day-to-day experiences. Representatives confirmed to The Financial Review BlackBerry will make this program available to Australian businesses.

The Soldier

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Our excitement over the formative ecosystem is matched by relief the hardware will be up to scratch. Leaked training material cited by GSMArena reveals the upcoming BlackBerry smartphone will have a high resolution 356 pixel per inch touchscreen, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 chipset and a “best in class” HTML 5 browser.

 

Combined with earlier leaks, we know it has a complete Micro suite (MicroSD card slot, Micro USB and MicroHDMI ports), along with a removable 1,800mAh battery.

Don’t think it’s been abandoned in the style department either; its understated black profile looks like the thing that’s been missing from your suit pocket.

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BlackBerry has a tough road ahead of them yet, but it’s good to see they’re making a valiant effort. 

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