A Canadian flag waves in front of a Blackberry logo at the Blackberry campus in Waterloo, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen announced on Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the launch of two flagship smartphones for the floundering Canadian tech firm - the BlackBerry Z3 and BlackBerry Q20.
The new phone Q20 returns to the physical QWERTY keyboard, in response to weak sales of the Q10 in 2013. Mr Chen explained, quoted by CBC, "In my first 90 days on the job, I consistently heard from our ardent BlackBerry customers that the hard buttons and trackpad are an essential part of the BlackBerry QWERTY experience. I want these customers to know we heard them."
The Q20 will feature BES 12, a large battery and would be made from premium materials designed for reliability and durability.
Ahead of the 3.5-inch Q20 slated for release by the second half of 2014, the Waterloo-based firm will roll out the Z3, which would initially sell in Indonesia in April for less than $200. It is part of BlackBerry's new five-year partnership with Foxxconn, a Taiwanese firm that produces electronic products for difference factories in China.
The Z3 was designed with Indonesian buyers in mind, Mr Chen said. It would have a 5-inch screen, the largest display for a BlackBerry phone.
The two flagships are attempts by BlackBerry, under Mr Chen's leadership, to help the once number one phonemaker to recover market lost to South Korean tech giant Samsung and Cupertino-based firm Apple.
CBN Moneywatch noted that despite recent attempts to innovate, BlackBerry has a long way to go before it could return to its former glory, the worst for the Waterloo-based company appears to be past it.
Proof is the return to $10.60 of BlackBerry's share price after it plummeted below $6 in December. Moneywatch said it is show of faith in Mr Chen and "an acknowledgement that BlackBerry, after years of bad decisions and ho-hum phones, may finally be turning things around."