BlackBerry unveils five-inch all-touch Z3

Summary:The latest addition to its QWERTY-less device range is aimed at helping it recover lost ground in one of its key markets.

z3
Image: Brian Bennett/CNET

BlackBerry has added another all-touch device to its portfolio this week in the form of the Z3.

The five-inch device will run BlackBerry 10, and for now, will only be available in Indonesia and will feature country-specific content and apps, such as a custom version of BBM.

The Z3 is the first to be built by Foxconn following its manufacturing deal with BlackBerry, announced late last year .

The Z3 will go on sale in Indonesia in April, according to BlackBerry, and while there's no word yet on pricing, the company's CEO, John Chen, has previously said it would retail for less than $200 unlocked.

The handset is 3G-only for now, although Chen expects an LTE variant to launch "sometime in the future", Reuters reports.

While Indonesia has traditionally been one of BlackBerry's largest markets, its fortunes began to decline in the country in recent years.

According to analyst IDC, Android overtook BlackBerry OS as the most popular smartphone operating system in Indonesia in the second quarter of 2012, although it remained the largest smartphone seller. It's now thought to be third behind Samsung and Smartfren Andromax.

Its share of smartphone shipments in Indonesia fell from 36 percent in 2012 to 14 percent in 2013, IDC figures show.

"Overall, BlackBerry's strategy of concentrating on more premium users in 2013 has really hurt its share in Indonesia, as its 2013 BB10 line-up were inaccessible to most Indonesians," Ryan Lai, market analyst at IDC, said. "In addition, BlackBerry handsets lost a key differentiator when BBM was made available on Android and iOS. Many Android vendors now openly advertise the availability of BBM on Android in their marketing materials in Indonesia. Having said that, BlackBerry's brand still carries significant weight in Indonesia and the newly announced Z3 is expected to boost shipments, at least for the short to medium term.

The handset was announced at the MWC trade show in Barcelona on Tuesday, alongside a QWERTY keyboard-sporting mobile, the Q20 . The Q20 has the largest screen of any hard keyboard device BlackBerry has released at 3.5 inches.

More from BlackBerry

Topics: Mobility, BlackBerry, MWC, Smartphones

About

Jo Best has been covering IT for the best part of a decade for publications including silicon.com, Guardian Government Computing and ZDNet in both London and Sydney.

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