BlackBerry is adding a new candy bar touchscreen-style smartphone to its lineup. The Z30, BlackBerry’s fourth BB10 smartphone, features a 5-inch Super AMOLED display and a new 1.7-GHz processor with quad-core graphics. There’s no word on pricing just yet.
BlackBerry boasts that its upcoming device will last for up to 25 hours on a single charge thanks to its 2880-mAh battery, a claim we are eager to test for ourselves.
The phone will debut with a few new BlackBerry software features along with the newest version of its OS, version 10.2. Priority Hub, for instance, compiles messages and notifications from the contacts you chat with most frequently. This updated software will also come with an improved version of BlackBerry Messenger that shows pop-up previews of incoming messages from the phone’s lock screen.
The phone will also come with stereo speakers that will utilize Blackberry’s Natural Sound feature, which is aimed at improving voice and video calls made over BBM.
The company hasn’t specified when the Z30 will be available, but has said that it will roll out in the United Kingdom and the Middle East first. Other markets will get their hands on the Z30 by the holiday season.
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The launch of a new flagship smartphone such as the Z30 could be particularly crucial for BlackBerry at this time, seeing as the Z10 — the Z30's 4.2-inch all-touch predecessor — and keyboard-equipped Q10 have been met with lukewarm reception thus far. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that one unnamed executive at a Canadian smartphone maker even said the Q10 “just hit the ground and died.”
Until this point BlackBerry had been vying with Windows Phone for the third spot underneath iOS and Android, but Microsoft’s mobile platform recently closed that gap. The latest report from Gartner showed that BlackBerry’s worldwide smartphone market share dropped from 5.2 percent to just 2.7 percent in Q2 2013, while Windows Phone rose from 2.6 percent to 3.3 percent. BlackBerry has struggled to keep pace with Apple and Samsung in the past, and now it will have to keep up with Nokia as well — making its future smartphone launches all the more critical.
First published September 18 2013, 8:19 AM