BlackBerry 9720 promises a step up, but…

By: Vula Vala

One has to shudder to think how a poor men’s BlackBerry will perform after being hugely disappointed by a premium BlackBerry product. I say this as a reaction to yesterday’s launch of BlackBerry 9720.

Granted, mine may be an uneducated and historical view because I gave up way back in 2010 after a painful experience with a BlackBerry Curve. Moving from Nokia to BlackBerry I have since found a home in between Apple and Samsung. As such I was not surprised when BlackBerry the company found itself in serious financial trouble.

But then BlackBerry has since promised to up its game and is said to have done so through the BlackBerry 7 line up. Im yet to be convinced that the latest lineup does not freeze at regular intervals and that its battery life does not require of me to carry my charger to lunch.

I was reading the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAsci) survey on mobile handsets the other day and it did not help BlackBerry’s cause. The 2013 survey showed Apple leading with a customer satisfaction score of 83% and followed by Samsung.

The SAsci statement noted that Blackberry’s recent spate of challenges are clearly illustrated with a score 8.7% below industry average. Prof Andre Schreuder, founder and chair of SAcsi, was quoted saying  “Blackberry has had a rough time with their market share lately and the challenges they face reflect in their customers’ levels of satisfaction”.

BlackBerry announced yesterday what reads to me like a poor men’s version in the BlackBerry 7 lineup. The BlackBerry 9720 said a press release is for customers that want a smartphone that’s built for a communications centric experience. It seems to be built for emerging markets judging by the release. “Beginning in the coming weeks, the new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone will be available in select markets from retailers and carriers in Asia, EMEA and Latin America”.

“Designed for a premium look and available in a variety of vibrant colors, the new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone takes everything you’d get from a starter smartphone to the next level, and comes packed with all of your favorite social apps to let you spark the conversation”.

Carlo Chiarello, Executive Vice President for Products at BlackBerry said “It’s perfect for customers upgrading from a feature phone or entry-level Android or Windows Phone device, as well as existing BlackBerry smartphone customers, that want a richer experience and jump up in style and performance”

The statement added that BlackBerry 9720 features a spacious BlackBerry Keyboard with distinct keys for optimal typing, a 2.8” touchscreen and trackpad for easy navigation, offers generous battery life. Numerous other enhancements as quoted by the press release include:

  • BlackBerry 7 OS – The new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone comes with BlackBerry 7 OS version 7.1, which features an updated interface that lets you swipe to unlock the phone or access the camera from the lock screen, as well as additional enhancements.
  • BBM – The new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone features a dedicated BBM™ key that makes it quick and convenient to access the globally popular mobile social network, and with its BlackBerry Keyboard, messaging your BBM friends is easy and accurate. It also includes BBM Voice, which lets you chat over Wi-Fi® for free.* The latest version of BBM, which features BBM Channels, will also soon be available for download on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront, letting you tune in and connect with the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups you are passionate about.
  • Built-in FM Radio – With the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone you can listen to local FM stations, and automatically let your BBM friends know what station you’re currently listening to.
  • Multicast to Make Yourself Heard in an Instant – The refreshed BlackBerry 7 OS lets you quickly type your message once and post it simultaneously and instantly to your friends on BBM, Twitter and Facebook. You can even snap a picture and post it to multiple social networks all at the same time, right from the camera app.
  • Discover New Possibilities – With access to BlackBerry 7 apps and games on BlackBerry World, the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone can make you more productive and better informed, and keep you well connected and thoroughly entertained, while on the move.
  • Smart for Business Too – With BlackBerry® Enterprise Server or BlackBerry® Enterprise Server Express, the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone ffers superior business productivity features with market-leading mobole device management, application management and security, and is a very cost-effective solution for any organization.

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