Closer Look: BlackBerry Rome & Hamburg

It's been a while since I've written anything on here in this fashion, but I know how many are anxious to get an idea of what's expected from BlackBerry in the coming years in regards to hardware devices.

Today, I want to talk about the Hamburg and Rome posts you've likely read all over the internet about leaked renders, and I also want to show you some closer details about these devices with some new renders for you. If you're a hardcore BlackBerry fan, you've likely visited my BBM Channel and peeked at the renders shared there of the two Android devices - or perhaps you've attemped a swing at one of my tough puzzles.

A concern of mine was when these renders and bits of information was taken by a site (who I don't care to reference) and watermarked as their own - which left in the wrong direction, misleading larger tech sites into publishing as leaked renderings. To make things clear, these renderings are not leaked by any means. They are replications of device plans and / or prototype units that I have seen in person. Not to be mistaken for a truly leaked image, like when we shared the first image of the BlackBerry Passport Silver Edition, originally leaked as "Oslo".

To start with the Hamburg, I've never actually seen this device in person. In fact, I can't find a source to substaintiate any specifications for this device (which I originally was told would make it out before the Rome). I did however come across internal device sketches for the handset - which largely copies the Z30 form factor. These internal images are in which I based the renders for the Hamburg. Clarifying more over, the codename Hamburg may not be as accurate as the Rome's in terms of existence.

Here's a closer look at the alleged device:


As for the Rome, it's a device I've actually had the pleasure of seeing in person on a few occasions here in Waterloo. Again, a device we saw first leaked by CrackBerry months ago, known then as the BlackBerry Vienna.

Since then, the device has undergone some major refinements. One of the units I was shown, had some biometrics under the hood. If you played one of the puzzles on my channel - you likely saw the Rome with a fingerprint scanner integrated into the space key. Apparently, this was the most logical spot to place the sensor without having to add a distracting sensor elsewhere on the device. With Android M and N, BlackBerry is finally able to integrate the feature into software - despite showing no enthusiasm towards the tech when it came to BlackBerry 10 handsets. Whether or not it sees production units is still unknown, but September is a while away.

Here's a closer look at the BlackBerry Rome:


When it comes to the Rome, I was told what the internals were like - and they're good.

Apparently, the Rome has internal specs that are like that of the Priv or otherwise the same. The screen may feature a dual curved edge as well, which left some questioning how the keyboard will shape. Think of how the Priv's keyboard has a slight contour at the edges where the slide comes into contact. The screen is crisp, though I wasn't told resolution. One thing that was pressed into me, was that since complaints of front facing cameras with the Priv (due to size limitations), the Rome kicks this up by adding up to an 8MP front facing camera. For Rome, we hear it could be priced as high as $500 USD or $629 CAD. All of the Rome units I saw had a special hardware button (not found on any other phone that I know of) which will have major uses for both governments and consumers - but I don't want to mention it further than that.

I did happen across many comments about the logo typeface on the renders - where mixed opinions either hated it, or loved the use. To be clear, there's no firm idea if BlackBerry will begin using their new logo on their handsets - though it would make sense, since it's now their marketing font and logo type. Personally, I like it. I feel it brings a level of sophistication to the handsets, and unifies what the company is heading into (rebranding).

Remember, things are always subject to change, and we've seen many devices get canned even after getting leaked. What we do know for certain, is that Chen and the team is planning on releasing a hopeful two new Android handsets in 2016. These are supposed to be mid-tier devices, and come in around $449 USD.

If I had my money on one of these devices releasing, it would be the Rome for sure. Releasing an all-touch device in 2016 into an already crowded market for the form-factor doesn't seem as intelligent an idea compared to a unique device like Rome.

Keep an open mind, but don't fully buy into these devices just yet. Let BlackBerry work their magic, and we'll see what actually comes out of the company this year.


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