MWC: Sony launches waterproof smartphone Xperia M4 Aqua; BlackBerry unveils mid-range all-touch smartphone Leap

Taking forward our coverage of the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2015 in Barcelona, we will now talk in detail about the smartphones unveiled by BlackBerry and Sony. Canadian handset manufacturer BlackBerry (previously Research in Motion or RIM) has further expanded its range of smartphones with the launch of a new device. Called 'Leap', this one is a all-touch device and hence is sans the physical QWERTY keyboard that is synonymous with BlackBerry devices.

In addition, Sony has also added a new member to its Xperia family of devices. Christened Xperia M4 Aqua, the smartphone sports a 5 inch display and runs on the Android operating system. As the name already hints, the device is both waterproof and dust tight, which basically means that its design protects it against water as well as fine dust particles. According to Sony, users can even take photos and videos 1.5 metres under fresh water for up to 30 minutes.

Here is a look at the detailed specifications of the devices.

BlackBerry (1)BlackBerry Leap

The smartphone sports a 5 inch HD touchscreen display (1280×720 pixel resolution) with pixel density of 294 ppi and a 16:9 aspect ratio. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM 8960 processor and runs on the BlackBerry 10 OS. The smartphone has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory that can be further expanded up to 128GB with a microSD card.

The device has an 8 megapixel autofocus rear camera (with image and video stabilisation) with LED Flash that can also record full high definition videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second. In addition, it has a 2MP fixed-focus front facing camera for video calling that can also record HD (720p) videos. On the connectivity front, the device has Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G LTE, as well as a microSD slot and a microUSB port.

The dimensions of the device are 144mm x 72.8mm x 9.5mm and it weighs 170 gm. The company has provided a 2,800 mAh battery in the device, which also comes with FM radio and has GPS (with A-GPS support). It will be available in black colour. Additional features of the smartphone include:

BlackBerry Blend: Brings messaging and content that is on your BlackBerry smartphone to your computer and tablet. Get instant message notifications, read and respond to your work and personal email, BBM and text messages, as well as access your documents, calendar, contacts and media in real-time on whatever device you are on.

BlackBerry Assistant: A digital assistant that can be used with voice and text commands to help users manage work and personal email, contacts, calendar and other native BlackBerry 10 applications. According to the company, BlackBerry Assistant intelligently determines how to respond to you based on how you interact with it– if you type, it responds silently; if you speak, it speaks back; and if you activate it over Bluetooth, it speaks back with additional context because it assumes you might not have access to the screen.

BlackBerry Hub: Offers a single place to manage all your conversations– email, texts, BBM, phone calls, social media and more. You can even glance at what's next in your calendar.

In addition, the Amazon Appstore comes preloaded on BlackBerry Classic, enabling users to access popular Android apps and games.

Earlier this year, the company had launched the BlackBerry Classic smartphone in the Indian market. This one sports a 3.5 inch touchscreen display, as well as a physical QWERTY keyboard with 35-keys and a responsive touch surface like a track pad. It has been priced at Rs 31,990 in the country.

M4 AquaXperia M4 Aqua

The smartphone sports a 5 inch HD IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display (1280×720 pixels resolution) and runs on the latest Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core (1.5 GHz quad-core + 1 GHz quad-core) 64-bit processor and has 2GB of RAM. The internal memory of the device is 8GB that can be further expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card.

Xperia M4 Aqua sports a 13 megapixel autofocus rear camera with LED Flash that can also record full HD videos (1080p) at 30 frames per second, and a 5MP front facing camera for video calling that can also record HD (720p) videos. Additional features of the camera include touch focus, geo-tagging, face/smile detection, panorama, and High Dynamic Range (HDR), among others. On the connectivity front, the smartphone has Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, and 3G, and 4G LTE (depending on the region) as well as a microUSB port and a microSD card slot.

The dimensions of the device are 145.5mm x 72.6mm x 7.3mm and its weight is 136gm. Sony has provided a 2,400 mAh battery in the smartphone that it claims will provide up to 13 hours and 17 minutes of talk time and 779 hours of standby time. It comes with GPS (with A-GPS support), FM Radio with RDS and Near Field Communication (NFC). The smartphone will be available in white, silver, coral and black colours.

Although Sony and BlackBerry have not disclosed an exact India pricing or availability date for the smartphones, considering their specifications, we feel that it should lie in the Rs 18,000-25,000 price range.

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