Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Passport to the world?

It's been a long time since I've really felt excited about Blackberry's new launches. My love affair may have fallen apart after a short brief relationship with the then new Blackberry Bold. But I guess the new launch of Blackberry Passport may finally get me interested. 

Blackberry's Senior Vice President for Marketing, Mark Wilson was in town today to launch the new Blackberry Passport at Armani Ballroom at the Burj Khalifa. Dubai was one of the 3 cities across the world which were part of the global launch.

Let me set the record straight. I have never published a post about a commercial product on Dubai Photo Story. It's always been about bringing Dubai to the world in the form of pictures. It could well have been the new IPhone 6. Or Samsung's newest gizmo. But there is a strong reason for having finally broken my own rule today.

The Blackberry Passport is not your new bright mobile handset that's going to impress the girls. Its something a lot more serious. Serious technology. Serious productivity. Serious work.

The first thing that strikes you is the very odd square 1440 x 1440 high resolution HD screen. The square screen lets you read a lot more than most mobile handsets. It's wide screen gives you a real laptop experience unlike the long rectangle screen where one needs to keep scrolling from one side to the other. 

But what brings out it's pedigree is the true Blackberry keyboard that also works as a scroll pad. Besides all the good things Blackberry keyboards are known for, this one lets you scroll up and down the screen. Want to scroll to the bottom of the page? Just swipe your finger downwards on the keyboard. Want to delete the last few words you typed? you can swipe the finger sideways on the keyboard. But what I did find annoying about it is that its now limited to 3 rows only. But then again, its an intelligent keyboard with a fourth virtual row of keys at the bottom of the screen. The device seemed quite intelligent to predict what I was going to type and generated additional keys on the virtual row. Serious productivity. 

Another big win is that one can download all the apps from Amazon's Appstore. This is an area that has always been a sore point for Blackberry users in the region. But now the Passport comes with a pre loaded Amazon Appstore to download all your favourite apps. 

I guess that best new thing blackberry brings to the table is Blackberry Blend. With blend one can seamlessly access content from your Blackberry Passport on any other device including Windows PC or and Android tablet. Its almost like using your Passport on your laptop or tablet without ever being disconnected from your mobile device. 

The build quality is phenomenal. This is probably the best build quality that Blackberry has brought to the market in a long time. 

I've been waiting a while to get a new smartphone. Its a busy time with some big launches jostling for mind space and big brands fighting to get the consumers' attention. I think Blackberry has managed to get mine.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Mosque

Located in the Deira area opposite Deira City Centre at the junction of Street 25 and Street 27, this is probably one of the oldest mosques in the city. 

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