Reddit user describes one hour spent with BlackBerry Android smartphone

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The Internet is rife with rumours surrounding BlackBerry’s upcoming Android smartphone, that should be released in October or November. While there has been a few renders and a blurry image posted on the interwebs, there has been nothing really specific about a device that is generating a huge amount of interest.

A user on Reddit (BerryThrowaway1) claims to have had hands on time with the device and provided his impressions after allegedly spending an hour with the device.

The user states that BlackBerry will announce the device at IFA next month and this would be completely unusual for BlackBerry. However, considering that this will be BlackBerry’s first pure Android device, it is possible.

As usual, what he states should not be taken as gospel. Interestingly, his description has now been deleted but this is what he had to say:

“This morning I got to spend around an hour using the BlackBerry Slider.

I won’t comment on how I saw it for obvious reasons.

I was told that what I saw was final hardware. The software is feature complete but not final. The device is scheduled to be announced at IFA in Berlin and released later than that pending carrier approval and regulatory certifications. I believe that IFA is in early September.

The hardware is very nice. The construction seems to take design cues from the Passport Silver Edition. The front-facing speaker ports are like the ones found on the new Passport. I was told that the SE was made to test how certain Slider components would be manufactured by Blackberry’s partners. BlackBerry is not leaving anything to chance.

The slider is a little bit lighter than a Passport – I compared holding one in each hand. The slider mechanism feels sturdy. It doesn’t have any side to side flex like the old Torch did. BlackBerry spent a lot of time engineering the slide mechanism. When closed, it feels tight like a slab phone. It takes a little bit of force to open the screen by pushing on the lip where the screen meets the body of the phone by the speakers. The same for closing the screen. The battery was said to be around 3,000 miliamps. It is not user replaceable. There is an SD card slot and a Sim card slot that looks a lot like what is found on Passport, just not in the same location.

The physical keyboard is like a standard Classic or Bold Keyboard. When the keyboard is opened, the device gets really long. It is not unbalanced though. The keyboard is farther up from the bottom of the device than it is on Passport so easier to type on from what I can tell.

When closed, there is a physical keyboard that is much like the physical keyboard on the Z30.

The 5.5″ screen is definitely Amoled. The black levels make that clear. It is a gorgeous screen and the curves are better done than on the Galaxy devices, IMO. It feels better in your hand.

Yes. It runs Android. BlackBerry wants it to feel like Android by using Material Design framework. So the hub looks like Android. Just like BBM on Android looks like Android and not BB10. There seemed to be a deep BlackBerry integration meaning that messaging had many BB10 features. I saw that you can change led colors and vibrations by contact. Android style notifications are still there when you swipe down from the top of the screen.

BB10 gestures are not present. To get to the hub you need to swipe all the way to the left. I was told that there is another way based on edge notifications on the curved part of the screen.

Google Play was there. It will apparently release with Lollipop but be upgraded to Android M but this might change. It might release with Android M. Google plans to make a big deal of this phone as part of the Android M launch which focuses on Android at Work.

I was not allowed to take any pictures.”

He adds:

“One thing I forgot to say is that there are no active frames. Task switching works like it does in Android. The screen has the typical Android buttons.

I should have asked about Passport update. I didn’t”

“One other thing. Search works just like it does on BB10. Just start typing and you search the phone for everything.”

You can read the complete post on Reddit here.

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