Last week, we brought you the news about the BlackBerry Rio Z20 becoming the new BlackBerry Leap, and even though at the time it was just a rumor, it seems we were spot on. The BlackBerry Leap was introduced to the public today at the Canadian company’s press conference, and the all-touch phone is rather impressive, although it’s not what we’re excited about. If you read our BlackBerry Leap news last week, you might remember me saying something about a hidden keyboard smartphone that I was expecting to see at the MWC 2015. Well, it seems BlackBerry agreed with me on the need for such a smartphone, and has unveiled the new BlackBerry Slider, which is exactly the phone I’ve been talking about, even though I had no idea I was right about it. Neat, huh? I’m very excited about this, how about you?
Let’s get the BlackBerry Leap out of the way first, as we were fairly sure about that phone coming to the MWC 2015. We expected a mid-range all-touch smartphone from John Chen and co, and that’s exactly what we got, maybe even a bit better. BlackBerry is targeting those who are just planning on entering the smartphone world with the Leap, and didn’t even say too much about the phone at their conference in Barcelona. Their exhibit and showed focused more on enterprise and software solutions that the company is planning to implement in the future, and with good reason. BlackBerry seems to have much more pull in the smartphone and mobile security industry than in the smartphone industry itself. Nonetheless, we’re glad to see that new non-conventional phones are on their way from the Canadian company.
BlackBerry Leap specs include a 5 inch display which has a pretty neat resolution of 1280*720, which adds up to 293 ppi pixel density. The ideal ppi pixel density for the average human eye is above 350 ppi, but the Leap actually looks rather nice, even though it’s below that threshold. The company slapped an 8 MP camera on the rear, which canr ecord 1080p video. The front camera is a standard 2 MP sensor which can also record 720p video if needed. Under the hood, the BlackBerry Leap comes with a Qualcomm Snapdraon S4 Plus processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, and honestly, it’s a rather outdated CPU to put on a current generation phone. Alas, it’s a mid-ranger targeted at young people, according to the speakers at the MWC 2015, so we’ll let that slide this time. When it comes to memory, the Leap gets 2 GB RAM to work with and 16 GB internal storage, which can be expanded to 128 GB with the aide of a microSD card.
The BlackBerry Leap benefits from a 2800 mAh battery unit, which should make for decent usage, but sadly, it’s not user replaceable. It seems new smartphones are gradually abandoning this trend, even though there are many users out there who would rather switch out their batteries whenever they are depleted. Alas, there’s nothing we can do about it, even though there’s tremendous demand. Moving on, the BlackBerry Leap runs on BlackBerry 10 OS, completely equipped with all you need, including BlackBerry Blend and BlackBerry Link. Moreover, the mid-ranger is equipped with LTE. Luckily, the company decided that it would be nice to reveal all that could be necessary about the Leap. That includes pricing. The BlackBerry Leap price is set at around $280, unlocked, which is an acceptable price for a mid-ranger. We would have advised for an even lower price-point for the Leap, because it’s definitely not that special and the mid-range smartphone market is even more competitive than the flagship market, especially when we’re talking about BlackBerry.
On to the star of the show! We have little information about the BlackBerry Slider, aside from a few demo units we’ve seen on the MWC 2015 floor. But those were enough for us to determine that the BlackBerry Slider is a behemoth of innovation, honestly. As Samsung launched the Galaxy S6 Edge, John Chen is going to counter with the Slider, which has similar dual-edge curved displays, but with the added benefit of a slide-out physical keyboard. That simply makes the BlackBerry Slider one of a kind, and one of the most practical smartphones I’ve ever laid eyes on. To be fair, I’m easily impressed with technology, but hey, who wouldn’t be?
The Slider wasn’t really up for grabs, as BlackBerry still hasn’t finished working on the device, but our insiders tell us that the company will be ready to launch the BlackBerry Slider by the end of April. Take that with a grain of salt, though, because we don’t have confirmation from the company on that. It’s a truly remarkable device and I honestly BlackBerry pairs it with neat, sleek software that will take advantage of both the curved edge displays and the sliding keyboard. As I wasn’t impressed by the HTC One M9, Galaxy S6 or Galaxy S6 Edge, I didn’t expect to feel awed by what BlackBerry unveiled today. This might just be my next phone. I hope it will be priced decently, below $800 unlocked, at least. I would definitely prefer a price as close to $500 as possible, but come on, the BlackBerry Slider price should reflect the innovation and the premium design, not to mention the many uses we might have for this tech. That being said, I’m saving up, that’s for sure. BlackBerry, here I come!
If Not Already Clear, Elder Scrolls 6 Will Skip PlayStation
Despite Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, The Elder Scrolls 6 was not confirmed as an Xbox exclusive a few months ago. This happened because Xbox executive Phil Spencer indicated that target platforms hadn’t been selected yet, but it always felt like he was talking about the game being years away rather than the RPG being on PlayStation.
If you’re still holding out, Microsoft plans to release The Elder Scrolls 6 just on Xbox and PC. Documents from the company’s FTC lawsuit were recently released. In the document, Bethesda’s announced titles (both as a publisher and developer) are listed, and The Elder Scrolls 6 is listed for Xbox, PC, and nothing else.
We expected this, but The Elder Scrolls 6 was announced before Microsoft acquired its developer. The Elder Scrolls is a beloved franchise that’s been on various platforms for generations, so this isn’t Starfield.
However, the game isn’t due until 2026 at the earliest, according to the paper, and who knows what the gaming landscape will be like then.
Xbox Nearly Flashed Warner Bros Cash, Sees Nintendo as Holy Grail
Xbox CEO Phil Spencer’s mid-2020 dystopian email suggests the business was interested in buying Warner Bros Interactive and Bethesda. Even more alarming, the CEO calls buying Nintendo a “career moment” and “good for both companies” — and there are even rumors that Microsoft was interested in Valve.
While Spencer warns that acquiring Nintendo would be “hostile action” but “playing the long game”, the unprecedented corporate convergence is shockingly casual. He added: “Nintendo is taking a long time to realize their future is off their hardware. A long time… He even ended the chat with a smiling emoji to make it look more evil.
Spencer claims that Warner Bros Interactive was “gettable” when Microsoft was rumored to acquire it. He adds that “we wouldn’t own any of the IP which hurts long-term flexibility”. Because most Warner Bros Interactive developers work on franchises like Batman, Harry Potter, and others, the studios are worth little without the brands.
The email is over three years old, but it reveals Microsoft’s blasé approach to acquisitions and its goals. While its eventual acquisition of Activision Blizzard may have changed its plans, this leaked exchange suggests that Microsoft will not stop until it has absorbed as much of the industry as possible, even targeting Nintendo.
Stig Asmussen Leaving Respawn for Galaxies Unknown
Jedi: Fallen Order and Jedi: Survivor director Stig Asmussen is leaving Respawn Entertainment for unknown reasons. Asmussen had planned a trilogy for Cal Kestis, but it appears another author will need to write it.
Bloomberg reports that an EA spokesperson said: “Stig Asmussen has left Respawn to pursue other adventures, and we wish him the best. Veteran Respawn leaders will lead Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.”
This move is surprising, but Asmussen leaves on a high note. Jedi: Survivor is a great game despite its performance issues, which is rare for a Star Wars game. We’ll see where Asmussen goes, but we’re excited.
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