With today’s launch of the BlackBerry Leap (check out our full BlackBerry Leap review), many BlackBerry fans around the world are asking, “where is the high-end all-touch device we want?”, a question that is completely understandable. Since the launch of the Passport – a power horse device with the latest mobile technologies inside of it – it’s been clear that BlackBerry can make a top shelf, iPhone-competing smartphone. Fans have wanted that same attitude to be focused towards an all-touch device as well.
The last BlackBerry of this type was launched over a year and half ago, and those that decided to get the Z30 are either ready to upgrade, or getting close to it. So the question now becomes, when will we see a high-end all-touch BlackBerry?
This may or may not surprise you, but we already have. The BlackBerry Slider, which was shown off at this year’s Mobile World Congress, is meant to take the high-end all-touch spot in BlackBerry’s portfolio and be the device that so many people are waiting for.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “JT, the Slider has a keyboard. It’s not an all-touch device.” Technically, you’re correct. However, we’ve been assured that the way BlackBerry is designing this device will make it just as useful, slim and attractive to both a slider lovers and those that want a touch-only device.
While there could be other all-touch devices being worked on by BlackBerry – and we want to make this very clear – the Slider is being made for those that want a high end experience without a physical keyboard getting in the way. Yes, the physical keyboard will be there, but it won’t shorten the screen, or get in the way when you don’t need it.
It’s important to remember that the BlackBerry Slider – as we’re calling it for now because there haven’t been any codenames leaked – will feature the same fantastic BlackBerry 10 virtual keyboard that Z10, Z30, and Leap users use when the device is closed. The Call and End buttons will be on-screen as well, so there will no reason for you to have to slide the phone open if you don’t want to. Technically speaking, when you purchase the Slider, you could keep it closed out of the box and for the entire lifespan of the device, and never miss a beat. You’ll more than likely want to use the keyboard that it has, of course, but you won’t have to.
If you’re still not convinced about why this is a good decision on BlackBerry’s part, just think about some of the internals this beast of the device is going to have. We discussed the possibility of the Slider being considered a high-end touch-only device by BlackBerry in our podcast about a month ago, and we went over these rumored internals and even confirmed it will have an octa-core processor. It’s very possible the Slider could also have a 2K/QuadHD display, a touch-sensitive keyboard, and a few other surprises. Add to that the beautiful design of the curved glass, which we’re told has a purpose and isn’t just for show, and we may be looking at the most innovative device of 2015. No other touch-only device will come close to that.
On a separate note, I hope this type of innovation is reflected in the name BlackBerry chooses for this device. I know it would be dumb to bring back the name Torch, but if you think about it, BlackBerry named a slider (9810), and an all-touch (9850/60) the “Torch” and it worked. They need to make sure they keep this in mind when marketing this next phone. Since they want both touchscreen lovers and slider fans to go pick one up, the name they choose has to balance that as well as the hardware they’re putting on this device.
I personally can’t wait for this phone to be announced, launched, and in my hands. If you’re still not excited about the BlackBerry Slider yet, you might want to check your pulse.