In a blog post on the official Inside BlackBerry blog yesterday, CEO John Chen relayed word that the company will be cracking down on leaks. In addition to the company putting in place more measures to prevent leaks from happening in the first place, BlackBerry will also show no mercy in legally going after those who choose to leak (and get caught doing it of course). You can view my thoughts on leaking here.
All of this talk about leaking has a thinking about, well.... leaks, so we wasted no time yesterday in pulling together our list of our Top 5 Favorite BlackBerry Device Leaks from years gone by. In this case, we focused on some of our favorite exclusives too - like a bunch of the times where we were the first in the world to get our hands on a new BlackBerry and post a review. It was a fun trip down memory lane, and a bunch of you let us know in the comments and on twitter just how much you loved the slideshow (for example, Will Conners from WSJ gave it a share).
"Most if not all I actually leaked first but let's not split hairs :)"
Over the years when big BlackBerry leaks have been posted by the media (especially the first big one pointing at new devices), BGR has had a great track record of being early to get up that very first device render or photo of a rumored upcoming BlackBerry. That first leak from BGR has often turned into rain with more sites following up with leaks in the weeks and months following, and as a new device nears launch we begin to see that downpour happen everywhere.
So as a salute of thanks to BGR for giving us many BlackBerry leaks to talk about around CrackBerry over the years, I had Bla1ze stay up all night to pull together a slideshow of our Top 10 Favorite BlackBerry Leaks via the Boy Genius (w/ captions by Bla1ze).
If we missed in any, be sure to point them out in the comments. And hey, be nice in the comments CrackBerry... BG just got engaged, so throw him a congrats while you're in there!!
In 2008 there were plenty of rumblings happening in the BlackBerry world and it was due in part to the Thunder. The BlackBerry Thunder that is, as it was reported by BGR after the name started turning up in rumors. Needless to say, this device ended up being the BlackBerry Storm upon release and while it had GSM cousins, it was for the most part a CDMA device held to Verizon. Perhaps it's fitting that this is the device we start with because while we're not 100 percent sure, it seems as though the BlackBerry Storm possibly had more OS leaks than any other device. It did kind of need them to be functional though.
In 2008, BlackBerry was planning what would end up as possibly one of their most underrated devices of all time, the BlackBerry Curve 8900. When it first started appearing, it was under the codename 'Javelin' as revealed by BGR. To this day, many people still refer to the BlackBerry Curve 8900 as the Javelin. It was a solid device for its time and took fantastic photos compared to every other device in its range.
Also in 2008, BlackBerry was working to release a new play on their insanely popular BlackBerry Pearl series. Someone in Waterloo came up with the notion of making the Pearl into a flip phone of sorts and what we ended up with was the BlackBerry Pearl 8220 (or Pearl Flip if you prefer). At the time, the image above led some folks to believe there could be accessories to go along with it but as we know better now, this was more an internal styling guide to show off some of the features which ended up in the device. The 8220 didn't gain the popularity that was desired.
Oh yeah, we're pretty sure this first photo of the Kickstart (below - apparently taken within a bathroom at BBRY HQ) got that employee fired:
2009 was a decent year for BlackBerry news, and in April BGR dropped some specs for three different devices — Onyx, Driftwood and Magnum. While Magnum never saw the light of day outside of a prototype and I can't for the life of me remember what became of Driftwood (maybe it floated away? Bad joke), Onyx ultimately ended up being released as the BlackBerry Bold 9700 after many, many leaks. A superb device with even better iterations that came after, such as the Bold 9780 — though it lost some steam by the time the Bold 9790 came around.
One other device from 2009 was the BlackBerry Niagara and it's a bit of a weird bird. As you can tell from the image, this one was a little rough to handle from BGR because well, it looks like it was nothing more than a drawing on paper — which really, it is. It seems somewhere along the line this image turned into the Tour 9630 with some slight differences and eventually came full circle to end up as the Bold 9650 as it was originally envisioned.
In 2010, BlackBerry once again tried to go the flip phone route and before it was called the BlackBerry Style and possibly even before it was called by the Oxford codename, BGR got a look at the then dubbed 9670. We ran a poll asking whether or not folks thought BlackBerry should release the Style and a full 81% of respondents said BlackBerry should skip it. It ended up getting released though and it even came on Halloween for Sprint. Kevin however, still has one of these and to this day, wishes BlackBerry would release a new purple device. He loved it!
Speaking of the BlackBerry Bold 9780 — that came in 2010 as well and BGR offered up some specs for it. It didn't really offer a whole lot in the way changes, but the camera got a bump in specs from 3.2 mega-pixels to 5 mega-pixels, RAM was doubled from 256MB to 512MB and some subtle styling changes happened. All in all, a solid device. Check out our review if you feel like jumping through the time vortex.
2011 was a fantastic year for anyone who enjoys hearing about upcoming devices. One of the top devices for that year was the BlackBerry Dakota — aka Montana — and several other names. Early leaks offered a kind of schematic view of the device, but eventually much cleaner versions that would become the BlackBerry Bold 9900 did indeed arrive and they were every bit as glorious as those of the Bold 9000.
Although the Torch and the whole slider form factor is a bit of a niche device, not a day goes by here on CrackBerry that someone doesn't say they'd like to see BlackBerry make another, unlike oh I don't know ... flip phones. It was revealed pretty early on that BlackBerry was working on a Torch 2 but as a part of BGR's leaks, images confirmed it for everyone who wanted one. Granted, it might have come a little too soon in the upgrade cycle but still, people were upgrading to a newer processor and more RAM.
BlackBerry Z30 / A10
Finally, a BlackBerry 10 device to close this one out. For months, the BlackBerry A10 had been rumored about but it had never been caught on camera. After BGR posted up the first image of it though, it was like someone turned a faucet on. The device which would later be officially released as the BlackBerry Z30 had more leaks than a sieve and they didn't stop until it was officially announced.
Ok, so there you have it, ten of our favorite BlackBerry leaks that came to light via BGR.com. Will John Chen's promise to stop leaks happen? Time will tell I guess. The good news is that for those of you fans who love to talk about and discuss leaks, we probably can post one of these looking-back leaked posts for the next year before we run out! :)
What should we do next? Maybe a look back at all the leaks that never turned into real products? That could be fun!