BlackBerry’s next BB 10 device ticks all the right boxes for a modern smartphone, though there’s no sign that its ecosystem has gotten any better.
The company today announced the BlackBerry Z30, a successor to its first all-touchscreen BlackBerry 10 device, the Z10 (a phone I called a “boring beta” in my review). The new Z30 sports a larger 5-inch screen, a faster 1.7 gigahertz dual core CPU, and a slightly more refined design. It’s a way for BlackBerry to keep its lineup fresh in the face of strong competition from the iPhone 5S and newer Android devices.
Perhaps more interesting than the minor spec bumps is the fact that the Z30 will be BlackBerry’s first phone to ship with version 10.2 of the BB 10 operating system. The update adds instant previews of messages within any app, instant BBM replies, and additional notifications in the lock screen. It’s nice to see BlackBerry refine the capabilities of BB 10, though it’s a shame it’s taking so long to get these updates out.
It’s also unclear if the company has done much to fix its platform’s abysmal app problem. BB 10 launched with more than 70,000 apps, but most of them were useless (and many were just ports of Android apps). With robust app ecosystems available on iOS and Android, and more progress being made by Windows Phone every day, it’s tough to see how BlackBerry can compete.
The Z30 sports BlackBerry’s largest phone battery ever, rated at 2,880 mAh. BlackBerry also claims it has an improved antenna for better reception.
Pricing and availability details aren’t available yet (we’ll have to wait for carrier announcements for those).