25 Feb 2014

BlackBerry Introduces The Z3 And Q20

BlackBerry has a couple of new smartphones in the offing, including the first sourced from new strategic partner Foxconn. The first Foxconn BlackBerry is the Z3, a Nokia-like touchscreen smartphone with rounded sides, a 5-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 8GB of on board storage.

The Z3 is targeted specifically at customers in Indonesia, which is where the phone will launch first. It runs BlackBerry OS 10.2.1, has a 5.5 megapixel rear and 1.1 megapixel front camera, boasts an internal FM radio and will cost only $200 off contract. Basically, it offers what looks like capable hardware running the same OS that BlackBerry offers on its flagship hardware, but for a price that’s bound to be much more palatable to the Indonesian market.

The proof will be in how the new Foxconn device works, however; there’s always the risk that hardware and software are poorly married when so much of the device is in the hands of a third-party partner. But if it succeeds, BlackBerry could have a new weapon in its arsenal to help it shore up losses in some of its strongest device markets. Indonesia is a key market for BlackBerry, but its market share in the country had slipped to 14 percent as of 2013 per IDC, down from a record high of 43 percent in 2011. Much of that ground was ceded to Android, which now enjoys 83 percent share in the market.

The other new BlackBerry revealed today, the Q20, is aimed at a more general audience. It’s a hardware QWERTY smartphone like the Q10 (and its successor, at least numerically) and no specific mention of Foxconn is made in the release describing the smartphone. It has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, which is larger than the 3.1-inch display on the Q10, as well as new hardware Menu, Back, Send and End buttons, along with an integrated trackpad. The addition of a trackpad will come as welcome news to legacy BlackBerry fans, I’d imagine. The Q20 is also said to boast a larger battery, and should ship in the second half of the year. BlackBerry is keeping other details under wraps at the moment.

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