The Priv symbolised a new hope for BlackBerry. But, it came at a cost. No, strike that. It came at an atrocious cost. The Priv, although BlackBerry’s one last shot at redemption, was no ordinary smartphone. At least for BlackBerry, it wasn’t. Launched at almost Rs 63,000 it was a privilege to own the Priv, and BlackBerry was more than vocal about it. Ten months hence, the company has admitted that it was a mistake to launch the Priv in isolation. “In hindsight it would have been perfect should we have (had) brought out the Priv and maybe the DTEK50 at the same time. That might have been a smoother entrance into the Android space but we learnt a lot. The most important thing in a company is to try things, learn and then adjust your strategy from there,” said Alex Thurber, senior vice president, Global Device Sales, BlackBerry Inc while speaking exclusively with India Today Tech. Ten months hence, the company has launched the DTEK50 and DTEK60 Android-based phones in India.
The DTEK50 and DTEK60, again, symbolise a new hope for BlackBerry. But, things are very different this time. The DTEK50 and DTEK60 represent a change in strategy for BlackBerry, one where the company will focus solely on software and leave manufacturing to third-party OEMs. BlackBerry will not be manufacturing its phones any more. Somebody else would do that for BlackBerry.
The DTEK50 and DTEK60, therefore, belong to the first wave of such phones in the market. It’s the end of an era, but as rightly mentioned by Thurber himself, the most important thing in a company is to learn and then adjust your strategy from there. Clearly, hardware wasn’t taking BlackBerry anywhere. Shifting focus to software, at large, made more sense for BlackBerry. If its Q2 fiscal 2017 report data is to be gone by, the company seems to be doing very well on this front. It has reported 89 per cent year over year growth in software and services revenue in Q2 2017.
That, when coupled with the fact that it hasn’t launched a high-end flagship phone in isolation, this time round, marks another strategic change in the way how BlackBerry looks at itself, right now, in the ever expanding smartphone market. Especially in India.
While the DTEK50 is being pitched as a value for money offering meant for the masses, the DTEK60 is a high-end flagship phone replete with top-of-the-line specs and top-of-the-line premium pricing. But they haven’t been made by BlackBerry, so all those of you looking for a trackball interface or a trademark QWERTY keyboard should clearly look elsewhere. Oh wait no one does that anymore anyways! No one did it better than BlackBerry anyways. The DTEK50 and DTEK60 are simply rebranded Alcatel Idol 4 and Idol 4S with some minor shuffling in paper specs.
The DTEK50 is all-plastic with a textured back and a faux chrome frame that together add an element of visual variety to an otherwise bland and boring smartphone. The phone has a more utilitarian look and feel, and clearly isn’t anywhere close to being a showstopper, in a sea of showstopper phones. It’s just as basic as a basic smartphone can be and that’s all that there is to it. The phone comes with a 5.2-inch 1080p display and on-screen navigation keys. It is powered by a mid-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor (octa-core clocked at 1.5GHz) clubbed with Adreno 405 GPU and 3GB RAM. It comes with 16GB of internal memory which is further expandable by up to 2TB via microSD card slot. The single SIM phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports 4G LTE and NFC connectivity.
The DTEK50 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash alongside an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash. It is backed by a 2,610mAh battery witch Qucik Charge 2.0 support out-of-the-box.
The DTEK60, meanwhile, boasts of an all glass and metal design and a front that boasts of curved 2.5D glass. It looks a lot like the DTEK50, because well, it’s an ‘S’ version of the same phone, except that it is more premium. Owing to its all-glass finish, the DTEK60 accumulates dust and fingerprints, a lot, and can be a little slippery to hold and operate. It comes with a 5.5-inch QHD scratch and smudge resistant display and is powered by a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor (quad-core clocked at 2.15GHz) clubbed with Adreno 530 GPU and 4GB of RAM. It comes with 32GB of internal memory which is again expandable via microSD card slot. The single SIM phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports 4G LTE and NFC connectivity.
The DTEK60 has a 21-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash alongside an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. It is backed by a 3,000mAh battery and supports Quick Charge 3.0. Additionally, it comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a USB Type-C for connectivity.
The DTEK50 and DTEK60 are not so much about the paper specs (or looks, for that matter) as they are about the software that drives these phones. For BlackBerry, specifications are least important. The DTEK50 and the DTEK60 instead focus more on the software part and the security aspect that has been long associated with BlackBerry phones, only this time everything runs on top of stock Android. Both the phones have “device security built in from the start,” according to the company. These phones also have a Secure Bootloader which prevents hacking, claims BlackBerry. Most importantly, BlackBerry is pitching the DTEK50 and the DTEK60 as the most secure Android smartphones in the world (after the Priv), and claims that these phones will be receiving latest security patches as soon as Google pushes them out. Just like the Priv, both these phones come with BlackBerry nuggets like BlackBerry Hub and Productivity Tab built into them.
The DTEK50 and the DTEK60 have been priced at Rs 21,990 and Rs 46,990 respectively. These are not what you can call ideal pricing. The DTEK50 and the DTEK60 – especially the DTEK50 — are not the most powerful smartphones in the world. As mentioned earlier, they are about as basic as any basic smartphone (mid-tier and flagship) can be at this point of time. Having said that, BlackBerry phones were never about the hardware, anyways. Some were good looking, some weren’t. But at the end of the day, they were about security and privacy. The DTEK50 and the DTEK60 keep that spirit alive, in a different body.
Phones like the Passport and/or the Z3 aren’t coming back, and BlackBerry has accepted this fate with arms wide open. It is time that fans and loyalists do the same and move on. The DTEK50 and the DTEK60 offer a little something for every fan and loyalist alike, unlike the Priv which was exclusively a fantasy, back in the day. By the way, the Priv is now available for as low as Rs 34,990, just so you know. And moving on Optiemus Infracom Limited will be selling BlackBerry phones in India. Watch this space for our full review of the BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60 in the days to come.
Source: India Today