For the socially minded budget smartphone users BlackBerry have held a share of the market with their popular Curve phone. Now that they are releasing the 9320 though they are sticking to the tried and tested design but making the phone more embedded into the social age.
BlackBerry Messenger has always been popular with teenagers and adults alike and the BlackBerry as a product has been popular, especially with product placement into popular TV shows. The problem it’s going to have now though is as more powerful Android smartphones encroach on the budget market will this phone be able to fight off competition and be as popular as in the past.
The first thing to notice about the build is that very little has changed. The most noticeable thing is that there is now an extra button on the side for instant access to BlackBerry Messenger, RIM definitely know what people are buying their phones for. With such little change in design this means that the BlackBerry has stuck with the chunky look that is definitely lacking when it’s compared to the much more stylish Android phones that this one will be competing with. The one thing you can be sure of though, the design is functional and reliable for the user not bothered about having a fashionable looking phone.
This is the first phone from RIM that features the new BlackBerry 7.1 operating system which is a bonus; this allows the BlackBerry Messenger service to be fully integrated with Facebook and other social media applications. With a future release of BlackBerry 10 RIM are also promises even bigger changes. As this phone won’t upgrade to Blackberry 10 though it’s a worrying sign that this is not a future friendly phone, but on a budget this is probably one price that is paid.
Along with the inclusion of BlackBerry 7.1 the other features on the phone are the 3.2 megapixel camera that now has a flash, this is a nice touch. Memory is low though at 512mb so expansion by MicroSD card is probably a must. There is also an FM Radio which works quite well.
With a battery life that lasts a few days, and around 7 hours on constant use this is one of the good points of the phone, especially in competition against its power hungry competitors. With most of the apps this is of course the main weakness of the phone. Comparing this against Android phones for example the small screen is no competition and the lack of touch screen capabilities really show this phones up to be honest. This is not really a phone for gaming, more a business option.
The main problem with this phone is that it’s arguably restricted by its small screen and lack of upgradability in the future. The keyboard though is reliable, especially for users who want to make full use of BlackBerry Messenger, emails and social networking. As always this is a social phone and this has been extended somewhat with the added integration between the Messenger and other apps. With a cheap price it will definitely catch some people’s eye but in the end this is a phone with a design stuck in the past.