Anything BlackBerry can do we can do better! You can all but hear the chant echoing around the hallways of Nokia HQ as it puts the finishing touches on its X3 announcement. Though the phone will play in two very different segments of the smartphone market, the new BlackBerry Torch and Nokia X3 share the same drawcard — a touchscreen matched with a physical keypad.
Firstly, props to Nokia for keeping the budget-end market looking so damn sexy. The combination of a brushed-metal finish and the range of electric colours suggest a low-end phone we can get behind. The buttons look big and easy to use in the images we've seen, and the icons on screen look user-friendly as well. At 9.9mm thick, the X3 should slide easily in and out of your jeans pocket.
The jury is still out on the "touch and type" approach, however. The X3 will sport a 2.4-inch QVGA resistive touchscreen, which isn't the ingredients we tend to see in a recipe for responsive touch input. Not that we plan to judge the usability of this screen before we see it, but resistive touch panels and low-resolution screens tend to result in touch input that is more difficult to use than we'd like.
If you watch the introduction video below, Nokia senior vice president for design, Marko Ahtisaari, goes into some detail about the music experience on the X3, and from what you see in the demonstration, the music player looks really nice. Album art is displayed nicely, the controls are big and clean; it looks better than some music players on higher-priced devices.
Nokia has committed to having the X3 in stores by the end of Q3, which doesn't leave the company much time, and promises to make it available "at a very affordable price point".