BlackBerry "Knight" 9980 a Porsche-Designed Berry?!

By Bla1ze on 10 Sep 2011 06:23 pm EDT
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BlackBerry R47

By now, the BlackBerry R47 (9980) has made it's rounds to just about every BlackBerry fan out there. Everyone has seen the blurry previously leaked images, then the high res images and now the video. But what is this thing? Is it a real BlackBerry device that will eventually be available or is it some rejigged BlackBerry Bold 9900 that someone is just trying to pass off as a new BlackBerry device?

At this point there is no definitive information available but we have some speculative insight now that the device is out there more. Take it for what it's worth but we're hearing that this device, for now dubbed the BlackBerry R47 is actually codenamed "Knight" and was designed by Porsche and could possibly be launched as a limited special edition. Though, looking at the comments surrounding the device thus far, maybe RIM will consider scrapping the whole thing altogether.

Love or hate the design, the information of it having possibly been designed by Porsche is interesting. In the past we've seen plenty of other device manufacturers and designers team up to make special limited edition smartphones. Most of which are also seen as being "ugly" by most folks but hey, we can't all have a designer's vision or for that matter the possible $2K it might cost to buy a device like the BlackBerry R47. We're poking around for some more information right now. So that said, stay tuned. If we learn more, we'll keep you all posted. Until then.. take it all with a grain of salt.

Reader comments

BlackBerry "Knight" 9980 a Porsche-Designed Berry?!

121 Comments

I called for something like this 4 years ago when I use to visit bbforums.

This is 5years too late, I think it looks interesting and in the right direction for an aspiratioanal/executive device that Rim needs in their repertoire.

Too little too late!

Wow, mortys11, I can't believe they did not just drop everything and just do what you called for four years ago. I mean this beast is ugly but since you called for it I completely understand your position. I'm sure you are some great designer or something.

However, I frankly don't know what they can possibly do to improve on the Bold 9930.

Well, I guess since you say it is too little too late, I'll give up my brand new Bold 9930

which is a world phone -unlike the iPhone4 on VZ.
Has NFC -unlike iP4

Has a 20% faster processor, the best keyboard in the world -the iP4 does not have one at all and never will.

Consumer Report said not to buy the iP4 due to antenna gate. Never mind that during the last natural disaster in N.Y. the only way for people to communicate with their loved ones was through BBM using RIMM servers.

Never mind that it still has the best e-mail and messaging or that it is still the gold standard for secure and reliable communications.
I completely agree with you mortys11, it is too little too late! How could they have ignored you for FOUR years?!!!

I am going to walk over to apple and buy one of the devices that is locking out Google Books, Amazon Kindle Apps, and others with nefarious fees now that they have established their hegemony over the world of fart apps so they can kill the competition and build their own content.

Because as the commercial says "If you don't have an iPhone, well you don't have an iPhone" aka "if you are stupid enough to believe that the iPhone is the best phone out there then you should have one. Why, because El Jobso said you can't be cool without one. If people like you let others think for you then you deserve what you get. Enjoy it but on second thought, I'll keep the best, most reliable communication device on the market that even the president of the U.S. uses. He probably does not appreciate how awesome those fart apps really are though.

But how could they have kept you waiting for four years?!

The most amazing things that all the posititve things you mentioned will never make major headlines, you only hear about it through sites and a blurb here or there. If it had been the iphone that kept everyone in touch and apple severs the news would still be talking about it.

You are a dim whit. If it's porsche and costs $2000 it will sell. Personally I prefer the 9930, but really the comments on here are equivalent to peoples' views of modern art. Most people would say modern art is FUGLY, but the artists have moved on from the renaissance.

The subtle message here is: hey, we kind of moved on from slabs of glass, let's get back to design and individualism in phones.

I found funny that in Engadget the majority is commenting it looks cool. Yet the crackberry site dislike it. Ironic

Well everybody said the blackberry style was ugly , but then after holding it themselves...

3 Things.

This is worse looking then the Style.

The Style was still not that great looking.

At least RIM was trying something unique with the form-factor of the Style. There is zero reason to consider this when compared to the 9900.

From the comments you can see some people actually likes this , maybe this is like the prius of bb , I personally like it, it's got a delorean robocop with leather thing goin on . Hey justin biebs has a style , lol , have you ever held one ?

I think this phone is amazing!!!! Get with the program rimpire nation. This phone is just what RIM needs to give the public the confidence that they are relevant when it comes to design. I love my 9930 but that's because i am a huge bberry fan. however the 9930 is really the old 9000 with touch screen and better specs. but from a design perspective, it is not cutting edge. one of my coworkers saw my bold and immediately said that she was surprised that i still owned a berry. my point here is that we are group of people who tend not to be very objective regarding rim's designs. no one is leaving the iphone for the new bold, especially with the iphone 5 looming. please don't respond with isolated cases of a switch. the new bold represents ann upgrade path for existing berry users but it will NOT win the hearts and minds of iphone and android users.

it will take a bold move like this 9980 to be a breakthrough improvement for rim. i taught a group of 17yos today and conducted a poll. every last one of them loved it. they were all ios and android users. we all really need to think outside the rim box so that we may appreciate how others view rim. rim needs this phone and others just like it!!!!

Remember everyone that this might not even be released (since we haven't heard anything at all about it until yesterday). And even if it is launched it'll only be in limited quantities (because of the Porsche premium price).

I'm sure there are enough people out there who will buy a phone just because it's designed by Porsche. In fact, I think enough people will snap up all the limited quantity that is available.

At least RIM is willing to experiment. That is a good sign.

About 95% of people in my school have blackberrys!! My school is for children aged 11-18. And even some of the teachers own blackberrys. A blackberry isn't just a smartphone its a superphone :)

Amen, what people just don't get is Apple's growth is fueled by baby boomers who know little about computing and want something simple. American's in particular are TOLD by the media that the iPhone is cool, and who controls the media? A bunch of aging baby boomers.

That's an interesting take on it. Never looked at it that way. Someone else made a comment that apple products are designed for technology morons. He/she didn't put it that way, though. Those are my words. Anyways, wasn't it an 11y/o boy that wrote Angry Birds? And millions of "adults" can't get enough of it. Go figure.

Ya, think about it.. the tech "guru" at the Wall Street Journal is Walt Mossberg ( I think he is about 80 years old)

The problem is that this device is probably going to be more expensive than the 9900 so not really a viable option for the age group you questioned.

Personally, I don't like this design, but the fact that there are some people seem to love it seems to indicate that it is an interesting thing for them to try, albeit it would seem like it would have made more sense to launch it at the same time as the 9900 as otherwise some people will ignore it since they already bought a 9900 in the meantime, but then again the white variants still sell too and those almost always lag behind the launch as well.

@HotJava

You've got a point and a valid one too!

Some people may like it, especially if it's unique, that's where the attraction is for some. Also raises exposure for the company, call it extra free advertising.

... I still think it's an ugly duckling.

My 2¢

i don't know if it's just me, but hey, knowing that it's designed by Porsche.... i actually would like to take a look at it from another perspective. maybe... okay, i give up, still damn ugly!!

I'm surprised so many people care what it looks like, is there some sort of smartphone beauty pageant I'm unaware of?. Size wise that keyboard looks nice, depending on how the keys feel I would definitely use something like this. It's all about getting stuff done.

if it was all black and had the 9900 keyboard it would look nice. i think the silver makes it look worse than it actually is.

Than god this is not the next BlackBerry.

For a moment I started worrying that I'll have to switch to another phone if this ever went on sale.

If this is real then this is a very ugly BlackBerry...RIM has to be crazy to release this, you cannot even make the "Who cares how it looks, it gets stuff done" argument on this lol

I think it looks different, and its nice to see that RIM are not scared to play around with the designs of there phones....
Lets just hope that they design something thats a bit more appealing to the masses...

I love the name "knight" or maybe throw "dark knight" in there. With the design, forcing myself to like it but it's just way off, but now being that its made by porsche, hmm why not right? With slab phones this days, all of them look the same, it gets boring.

I'm taking full credit for the code name. A few months back, I suggested a Royalty series King, queen, and Knight. While the phone looks attrocious-yet runs smooth- I'm proud of it.

I'll settle for a glimpse of Mike L's Michael McDonaldesque hair do, a jumping high five, and a custom made 9860 with SurePress.

Tell porsche to stick to making vehicle's and not phones because they have no skills what so ever..

I call Bull*hit on this one.

Look how slim it is..looks slimmer then any phone out there. Not to mention the 'screen' shows the device having perfect service, that is extremely rare

I was going to post the exact same thing! I heard this blackberry has a 1.21 jiggawatt processor though....

it probably is a Porshe... have you seen what they did with the new Panamera? It looks like a dog taking a dump. They are the most unimaginative design out there. 40 Years and they all look alike. Give me an Aston Martin any day.

Damn that thing is ugly. I hope RIM decides to dump that idea completely, they don't need to give iPhone and Droid users any ammunition (which they would rightfully earn if RIM decides to release that ugly shit).

If this is really designed by Porsche, it'll be the first Porsche I find ungly. *please be a joke and reveal the ACTUAL Porsche/RIM phone in gun metal*

Let's just remove all pictures and blogs regarding this monstrosity and forget it even exists and this ever happened!

I would buy one of this in black or white, not silver. Although some people might buy in silver.

Make some fine tuning / design improvement and sell it in Asian market. Its sleek and it would definitely sell here!

Just going to point out some basic human nature... most people that say they hate something like this are simply lying. They say its ugly, or they would never buy it, to rationalize away their sense of inadequacy for not being able to purchase it if they did want it.

Not a whole lot of people walking around looking to drop 2k on a cell phone. I would... and I wish there were more options for those of us who do have the disposable income to get a better more high end product.

Why can't I spend 3 grand on a carbon fiber blackberry with beefed up hardware and a few rock star device specific apps to go along with it? The lack of special edition, limited edition, or full on custom shop type devices is sometimes infuriating.

I would gladly drop 2 grand for a rockstar rim product... I wish they would give me the option.

I think you would end up disappointed if you expect hardware changes, while some software differences might be possible, there is almost zero chance of them making hardware changes beyond the actual casing for a niche product.

As far as your claims that people could only think this phone was ugly due to being jealous, that is quite frankly an idiotic statement to make because the fact of the matter is that such a design departure from usual blackberries is not going to appeal to everyone regardless of its price.

Many people are going to naturally respond better to the 9900's sleeker curves than the sharper angles of this one and the greater ergonomic considerations in a normal qwerty keyboard over this one are going to tend to be favoured by people who still find a qwerty keyboard to be an important selling point.

I did not make a sweeping statement. I made a statement of probabilities. Yes... there are people who can afford it and are going to look at something radically different and say "its ugly". That happened with, for example, Ducati's 999. I just think its a bit premature to be looking at pictures of something and passing judgement.

Look at a picture of a 3 carat perfect diamond. You won't be impressed. Take a look at one in person... and you'll see what the big deal is.

An all billet phone like this would look amazing in person. As for the keyboard... what it looks like is irrelevant. Until we try it... we don't know. It may be horrible. It may be the best keyboard in the world.

Sorry to burst your elitest bubble, but sometimes ugly is ugly no matter the price or pedigree.

I thought this thing was an ugly, tacky abomination BEFORE I found out it was designed (possibly) by Porsche with a possible 2K price tag.

I'm surprised it may be a Porsche design and not something out of one of Lamborghini's design shops. This looks like a phone completely inspired by the 1980's Lamborghini "Bravo" show car.

I think it's pretty cool - hey why not try a crazy new design, even if it might be ugly to some, There are others who would love it, a younger generation perhaps?

Remember when the iPhone 4 came out, it didn't receive a lot of praise for it's looks, but now everyone loves it.

Not being willing to try anything new is what really will kill RIM. Good for them on being willing to change.

I tend to believe it is a Porsche-Design Prototype:

The design looks somehow similarly "interesting" to the devices they already have.
OTOH, the material (at least telling from the pictures), appears to be significantly cheaper then the current PD Phones, where the cases are carved from a block of Aluminum.

The key design is somehow similar with my old Nokia E61, which wasn't too bad to type on.

Not sure if I hate or love it, but if it is PD, I will probably get one - if only because it is different and might go well with my 986 interior design...

Let's see how this turns out. Maybe it's only RIM testing how "futuristic" they can go :-)

Assuming this is RIM working with Porsche-Design, you would have to assume that these are leaks of a non-final prototype and as such the materials may not be exactly as they would be in a shipping product.

I actually like this phone.

Just remove "Proceeding" and paint it black and give it to me. Lol.

It does look like it came from the 80s. I love the 80s, and I like the design of that phone.

As long as I can type on it, browse the web, install apps, use the camera, I'm good.

You kiddos are picky.

I was at a car show a little while ago and saw the Lamborghini Aventador. If RIM teamed up with the guys that designed that car and designed a phone like that i think they would have one of the most amazing looking phones out there. It seems Porsche didn't do that good of a job. I think Audi would do an awesome job as well.

If you remember early 9900 shots, where instead of "Bold" they had "Brand" written on the phone. Possibly to see how the font would look on the phone without giving away the actual device name." Proceeding", might be a test of how "Porche Design" would look on this device.

Yes, looks like the font Porsche uses (and only characters they would have to use).
I never liked their design.
"Meiomei, was habt's denn da wieda g'macht?!"

lol... so, let me get this straight: If CB winds up landing one of these to give away, NONE of you are gonna enter, right?

As for me? I. Want. Now!!

Let's think about this further - QNX has been in Porsches for years. Do you remember what Kevin said after his visit to Waterloo? Cars and Blackberrys. Think about the possibilities...
Will Porsche be the first step in this direction? Or are they simply making a wonderful phone ugly (after all, it's still hard to believe that someone is going to sell this... thing).

I think it looks great. There is nothing wrong with a little design variety. If they make it, it will sell. Just because all phones are starting to look the same, doesn't mean they always have to.

Will this device come with a Porsche?
*Sees Kevin camped out in front of his local Porsche dealership overnight to get his first $100K Blackberry* :p

Perhaps we should start collecting money right now! I don't think he gets one as giveaway for testing it.

Well don't know if this pic is official but its interesting and if this phone ever does come out to the public I wanna see how it would turn out and does it have a touch screen? Hmmm might wanna get this since everyone already jump and got the bold 9900 or should I just wait for qnx phones? :)

quite funny that everybody here hates the design while the people commenting at engadget
are mostly liking it

This thing is one ugly MF'n phone people... C'mon... BlackBerry fan or not, this thing is fugly and looks like a cheap ass kids toy that you get at a 99 cent store.

Just imagine how ugly this would be if it came in black. This can't be real. Trackpad is ugly as hell too

Well, since Porsche is known for their engineering and not their aesthetic beauty, I would hope this phone follows that. Unless it performs equivalent to a Turbo 911, though, I wouldn't even pay regular price for this thing, much less up to $2K.

this phone is awesome !!!!
i bet most people who do not like this phone do not appreciate modern design.
nothing wrong with that.....it's like the majority of the people going to the ikea to get their furniture and stuff.
There are some people who like something diffrent and like everyhting taste is a matter of whom you ask it to.
hope this baby comes out, i will def buy it !!

This phone gives me some ideas for the QNX phone:

- Make it Black and change "Proceeding" for the Traditional Blackberry logo that is show bellow.
- Make the touch screen in all "black area" of the R47 (Yes the hole screen and the buttons)
- Include a Swipe from bottom gesture to show Call, End Call and maybe BB button. Also include the PlayBook's gestures.
- 9900 Keyboard and general design.
- Cameras like the Playbook (front and back) but with AF

I think it looks great. And judging from most of the comments on how people think this is ugly, I'm not surprised that RIM is still stuck in the mud it is today.

Marty McFly and Doc Brown just called... They want their "future" phone back.

Seriously, this phone reminds me of 1992 when they would try to envision the "future" and design something that is instead pointy, angular, and just-plain gaudy.

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This phone is ugly. The keyboard looks like those coming from the 'sweat-factories'. I wonder why BlackBerry is about to release such a terrible piece of junk. They will go out of business soon.
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edges - metal - masculine

I like it a lot! And the best thing is that all the plastic-smartphone-kiddies seems not to like it (if you see the other comments here)

another brand would say: "seperates the men from the boys"

This angular design, and of materials that look to be of high quality, it looks and feels solid. Hate the bland rear though.

Hmmm i don't know how I feel about this device. I still think it looks ugly but with the handheld view it looks oddly appealing. hmmmmm