* The new Z30 to boast a five-inch touchscreen display
* Z30 to begin to hit store shelves as early as next week
* Device to initially launch in the UK and the Middle East
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, Sept 18 BlackBerry Ltd
launched its new Z30 flagship smartphone on Wednesday, as it
battles to win back market share despite uncertainty around its
Once a pioneer in the smartphone arena, BlackBerry said last
month it was weighing options that could include an outright
sale, in the face of lacklustre sales for its new devices that
run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The long-rumored Z30 device, which is first being unveiled
at an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, will be BlackBerry's new
top-of-the-line device, taking the crown from the smaller Z10
that was launched early this year.
The new touchscreen device, which boasts a five-inch display
and a 1.7 gigahertz processor, will compete against the likes of
Apple Inc's new iPhone 5S and Samsung Electronics Co's
Galaxy S4, along with a slew of other devices that
are powered by Google Inc's Android platform.
The company faces an uphill battle in generating interest in
the new phone, however, given the lack of clarity around its
While the company has long aspired to make its BlackBerry 10
operating system the No. 3 smartphone platform in the market,
the latest industry data indicates that Microsoft Corp's
Windows Phone platform is in fact more likely to clinch
that spot as its devices continue to gain ground.
Although the new line of BlackBerry devices has been well
received by reviewers, analysts say the company lacks the
financial heft to vie against industry giants like Apple,
Google, Samsung and Microsoft, which boast massive marketing and
Some analysts contend that Microsoft's move earlier this
month to acquire Nokia's phone business and license
its patents for 5.44 billion euros ($7.3 billion), poses another
hurdle for BlackBerry, as the software giant is likely to
redouble its catch-up efforts in the mobile device business.
But Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry, which is set to
report its fiscal second-quarter results next week, appears to
be sticking with its product roadmap for now, even as it reviews
The company, which touts the Z30 as its "biggest, fastest
and most advanced smartphone" to date, said the device will
begin to hit store shelves in the UK and parts of the Middle
East as early as next week.
The smartphone will go on sale with select carriers and
retailers in other regions over the remainder of the year, said
the company, adding specific pricing and availability will be
announced by its partners at the time of their respective