First Impression: BlackBerry Curve 9220

The BlackBerry Curve 9220 is a device that RIM hopes will boost sales in developing markets that will stem the downfall of the once great smartphone maker. The Curve 9220 attempts to up the ante from the BlackBerry Curve 8520, a smartphone that has been hugely popular in Indian market. Lets see if the Curve 9220 has the chops to take on the low budget Android army. Read on for my first impressions.
At first glance the Curve 9220 is a very attractive device. It has a very plasticky finish, but the quality of the plastic is rock solid and the glossy finish definitely adds to the luster of the device. The device like most BlackBerry smartphones is very comfortable to hold. At 12.7 mm, it is neither too bulky nor too slender. Frankly I believe RIM has nailed the sweet spot. Apart from this, the device also has a dedicated BBM key on left-hand side for quick access to the service.
When I tried out the keyboard, the keys felt a tad stiff, however this is par for the course, but I am disappointed as QWERTY keyboards are RIM’s forte and one would have expected them to provide a more fine tuned experience.
RIM has loaded the Curve 9220 with the latest generation BlackBerry OS 7.1. The OS does not bring many changes to the table. More or less the experience remains the same from previous models, however now all the Social Feeds are integrated and the UI has been streamlined a tad. We have already experienced these changes in higher end Blackberries like the 9900.
The Curve 9220 is also the first BlackBerry to come with integrated FM radio. At the event the RIM Executives made a big deal out of this feature, however this is nothing new, most devices ship with this feature. If anything BlackBerry should be ashamed that  after so many years users will get this sought after feature.
The 2-megapixel camera on the Curve 9220 is of a similar quality of the Curve 8520, so miracles should not be expected. For the sticker price of Rs 10,990, perhaps one could have expected a slightly better camera considering the Nokia Asha 303 even has a higher megapixel count on paper.
Generally BlackBerry users don’t suffer from battery life issues as is the case with most modern day Android users. However, BlackBerry has pulled all the stops here. They have armed the device with a 1450 mAh battery which is very large for a device of this class. The company says that the device can deliver up to seven hours of talk time and 28 hours of MP3 or FM playback. This is a bold claim. We will test this in our detailed review of the device.
In order to lure more customers, RIM is dangling a number of carrots to prospective customers. It is offering free app downloads for up to Rs 2,500 from the Blackberry App World. Admittedly, this online store is a ghost town, but RIM says that apps like Pencil Camera, Photo Studio Pro, Horoscope Oracle and Ultimate Cricket can be had for free.
One thing consumers should keep in mind is there is no 3G functionality, which is a bummer at Rs 10,990. However, the 9220 offers Wi-Fi connectivity, which is absent in the 8520. Also, there is a 3G-enabled variant, the 9320, slated for a launch in the next couple of months.
On the whole at a sticker price of Rs 10,990, the BlackBerry Curve 9220, seems like a promising product. But it will remain promising till we test it in great depth.