After a horrific 2013, BlackBerry now has a new CEO, some extra cash, and a new direction. BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced shortly after his appointment that the company will be re-focusing on its mobile enterprise services and software.
The company's device segment wasn't completely abandoned, however, and in December Chen announced that BlackBerry had partnered with Foxconn to develop and manufacture a new BlackBerry smartphone specifically geared toward Indonesia and "other fast-growing markets." This week BlackBerry officially unveiled that project.
At this week's Mobile World Congress BlackBerry revealed the BlackBerry Z3, a 5-inch smartphone with mid-range specs and a low price. The Z3 does not feature a physical keypad and instead resembles the BlackBerry Z10.
"We are excited to introduce the new BlackBerry Z3, the first smartphone to emerge from our strategic partnership with Foxconn, which was announced in mid-December, 2013," said John Chen, CEO of BlackBerry. "The BlackBerry Z3 embodies all that BlackBerry 10 offers, with its exceptional productivity features and reliable communications, in a stylish, all-touch design made affordable for customers in Indonesia."
The Z3 has a dual-core processor, 1.5GB of memory, a 5MP rear camera (and a 1.1MP front-facing camera), and 8GB of storage. The device is 3G only at this time, though 4G LTE may come to other versions of the phone at some point in the future.
With the relatively low hardware specs of the Z3 it's clear that BlackBerry has been steered away from its ambitions in the premium smartphone segment. The Z3 is expected to sell for a price under or around $200, making it a viable choice in emerging markets where the BlackBerry brand can still compete.