One of the key reasons why BlackBerry rules the smartphone roost in India has been the entry-level Curve 8520, released way back in August 2009. A basic smartphone without 3G and specs like a 2 MP camera, the 8520 was a mega-success primarily because it was affordable and provided access to BBM, social media feeds and e-mail—different facets of the BlackBerry service.
So, despite the smartphone's low-end features, the price-sensitive Indian customer (and especially the youth) purchased the 8520 for BBM and the BlackBerry service.
Fast forward to circa 2012 and RIM is launching the Curve 9220, the successor to the 8520 with some incremental changes, and seems to be relying on the same business philosophy that made the 8520 a success, and the jury is now out on whether the same mantra will work almost three years later.
To say it in a line, the 9220 is a thinner, slightly sleeker 8520 with the new BlackBerry OS 7.1; it is the first BlackBerry to boast of FM radio and in what few will focus on but is perhaps the most important aspect in my opinion—has the best battery on any BlackBerry smartphone available today.
If you're familiar with the 8520, the 9220 won't take you by surprise. Like car makers who announce a ‘new' edition of an old car by tweaking the headlamps or adding a dash of chrome, RIM has made the 9220 sleeker, which is primarily because it is 1.2 mm thinner than the 8520.
It's the same low-end 2.44-inch display with a resolution of 320 x 240, that Shayne Rana, the Tech2 reviewer who reviewed the 8520 said was "quite mundane" way back in 2009.
It's the same trackpad too, but which performs just as well on the 9220 as on any BlackBerry, making navigation a breeze. However, frills like a lit-up border for the trackpad are missing, and that's understandable on a low-end smartphone.
The QWERTY keypad is quite good and there have been some minor changes from the 8520, including slightly larger keys and minor changes in design, which make typing on the Curve 9220 a pleasure—surely music to the ears of BBM addicts and e-mail warriors.
What's missing is the 8520’s USP of media keys on the top. While a tiny pause button has been added to the volume/zoom keys on the right side, the media keys are sorely missed. The 3.5mm earphone socket has moved to the top, with the usual lock key.
The micro USB slot for charging and PC connectivity stays on the left, while the hot swap slot for the microSD card is under the rear panel and closer to the top of the device.
For the complete review the BlackBerry Curve 9220 click here