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Superb but with a rigid edge

After spending the last 24 hours to gauge the functioning of thenew BlackBerry 9720 that was launched in Mumbai last Thursday, one can now finally understand the change in the BB customer base. The new BB 9720 is a straightjacket mobile phone: lightweight with a long-lasting battery, a small screen, and a camera that one wishes didn’t exist. But does that make it a bad phone? Not for all; and, here’s why.

New interface and features
The new 9720 uses an updated version, 7.1 of the BB 7 operating system found in Blackberry Curve and Torch. It has a touchscreen interface that offers features like swipe-to-unlock screen, a separate key to access BBM, and Multicast that enables one to share a post in each networking account simultaneously.

The hardware
It’s 2.8-inch touchscreen offers smoother navigation. The screen resolution density is better than Curve or Bold at 214ppi, and comes with BB trackpad and BB Keyboard; offering features of a touch phone as well as a Qwerty keyboard phone. Unfortunately, there’s no front camera, and the rear camera (6 megapixel with built-in flash) doesn’t impress even in daylight. The battery, however, is impressive.

Beginners’ plight
With the 9720, Blackberry aims to target first-time smartphone users looking for an upgrade from a feature phone, and Blackberry Curve users. The latter group will love its touch and keyboard interface, and security upgrades. But it’s important to point out that a BB for a first-time user is intimidating. Unlike other smartphones running on Android OS or iOS devices, you can’t insert a SIM card and begin using a BB. It is cumbersome, especially with basics like setting up an email account, updating your contact list, or enabling your instant messaging like GTalk. BB might have its own reasons, but it’s disheartening to know that you can’t set up email, messenger, and instant messaging accounts through WiFi. Besides, BB doesn’t offer Gmail app support and you can’t import contacts directly from a Google account like in other smartphones. The 9720 is a superb phone for loyal, traditional BB users and its corporate clients, but it doesn’t acknowledge that for a majority in this category, smartphones today go beyond instant messaging and social networking. 

Quick specs
Screen: 2.8-inch (214ppi)
Memory: 512 MB, storage & RAM
Camera: 5 mp with flash
Connectivity: 2G, 3G and WiFi
Price: Rs 15,990

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