BlackBerry didn’t have the best 2013, but with its new CEO and a deal with Foxconn in place, things looked better for 2014. However, if a leaked phone is evidence of what’s planned for the coming year, fans best prepare themselves for some, um, odd design decisions.
Why? It’s because of the device you see here, which is without a doubt, one of the least attractive phones we’ve seen in a while. It first made an appearance on a Chinese forum, and is a squat, square BlackBerry-branded device with an unusual three-row keyboard beneath a wide display. We’re used to seeing BlackBerry’s with four-row QWERTY keyboards, making it look even more bizarre, almost like it’s missing a third of the body.
A rear view of the phone shows a camera lens and flash unit mounted in the top-center, along with a BlackBerry logo below it. At this point, we’d have probably ignored the phone, passing it off as a prototype which had long been consigned to the trash. Even the source of the images says its origin can’t be confirmed.
Except the story doesn’t end here. A post over at BGR.com details a “peculiar smartphone” codename Windermere, and shows an schematic which looks very similar to the real-lfe phone pictured in the Chinese leak. The article states the phone is a current project, not one from 2007 or earlier as the design may suggest, and that BlackBerry is working with an unnamed but “large” partner on it.
Apparently, the three row keyboard will be touch-sensitive, so a gesture based system can be used to bring up symbols and numbers. Additionally, the wide display may allow users to run two apps next to each other. BGR says the best way to imagine how the keyboard will work is to think about Swype on an Android device. It sounds really different, a bit confusing, and completely unexpected from the often rigidly sensible BlackBerry. However, while we’re interested in the keyboard, we’d rather it wasn’t attached to such a “challenging” looking phone.
What will eventually become of the Windermere isn’t clear though, as it’s said if BlackBerry’s secret parter decides not to go ahead with the project, it’s in danger of being dumped. If it is, we may never discover if the two phones are the same. Should the phone eventually go on sale, would you be prepared to forgive the weird look for a chance to use the gesture-controlled keyboard?