If your company produced a device that, while technically accomplished, managed to lose you $1 billion a few months later, you'd probably try and pretend that it never existed. That's not the approach that BlackBerry is taking with the Z10, however. Instead, the beleaguered smartphone maker has teamed up with Porsche Design to create the P'9982, a gussied-up version of the touchscreen smartphone designed to tempt gold course-bound executives and the super rich in ways that the original evidently failed to do. We've just got one of the devices in our hand, and we thought we'd run the rule over it to see how the other half live.
BlackBerry Porsche Design P'9982 hands-on
It's probably best, right out of the gate, to reiterate how this isn't your average piece of consumer technology. This is a device that'll launch exclusively at Britain's luxurious Harrods department store for £1,450 in the UK, $2,350 in the US and €1,650 in Europe. There's apparently a market for this sort of hardware, as the older P'9981 -- a revamped Bold 9900 -- was Harrods' biggest selling consumer technology product ever. Still, as far as the technology goes, this is just a Z10, but with 64GB of internal storage instead of 16GB and a microSD card slot that's now verified for 64GB cards. That's it for changes, which means you're still getting a 4.2-inch 1,280 x 768 display, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8960 and 2GB RAM. Unfortunately, while this device will launch globally, there's no word of a CDMA-compatible variant, so Verizon and Sprint customers will be disappointed
Open up the presentation box and you'll find a credit card-sized certificate of authenticity and an exclusive BBM pin code. When you sign into the service with this code, your user profile will gain a small icon, telling the world that you've spent big to get this piece of hardware. Of course, this isn't just BlackBerry's baby, as Porsche Design, broadly speaking, takes the device out of the company's hands before adding its own spin onto the hardware. For what it's worth, the smartphone maker is keen to stress that this is a side-project, existing outside of the Z10 / Z30 / Q10 / Q5 product matrix, although the P'9982 will be eligible for any and all future OS upgrades.
In fact, we get the sense that development of the P'9982 commenced before the launch of the Z10. In those halcyon days, Thorsten Heins was still convinced that the company's Blackberry 10 devices and software would be enough to restore the company's dwindling fortunes back to its heyday. Unfortunately, the corporate drama that surrounds the business has overtaken the best-laid plans of its designers, and when we tried to ask about BlackBerry's future corporate strategy, the answers were non-answers. With the P'9982, we're left with something that is, perhaps, a relic, perhaps a museum piece, but it's a beautiful one at that.