Last summer, RIM introduced the world to the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and BlackBerry 7 operating system. In spite of adding a faster processor, slimmer profile, and the nebulous Liquid Graphics, that combination failed to spark imaginations or stem the tide of dissatisfied BlackBerry customers upgrading away from the platform. None of that is going to change dramatically with the arrival of the Porsche Design P‘9981, which is — internally at least — a reissue of the 9900, using the same processor, memory, display, camera, OS, and even battery.

Still, Porsche has been running a Design Studio since 1972 and has the iconic aesthetic of the 911 — a look that’s endured for nearly half a century with only small alterations — to vouch for its ability to create timeless products. In adding the P‘9981 to its exalted portfolio, Porsche Design must believe that it can fashion out a smartphone capable of standing apart from its peers, much in the way the cars of its parent company do. So does it succeed — can excellence in design transcend humdrum components and milquetoast software?