The first ‘image' of the upcoming mid-range BlackBerry handset has leaked as have its purported specifications.
According to BlackBerry rumour blog BlackBerry Empire, the phone, currently called the R-Series, will offer 8BG of internal storage and a QWERTY keyboard and will feature external slots for a micro SIM card and for SD memory cards. The source leaking the info claims to have signed a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA) which prevents him from sharing real photos of the device. Therefore in an ‘ingenious' move to get around these restrictions without breaking the terms of the agreement, he has instead hand-drawn a picture of the handset.
During the company's March 28 quarterly earnings call, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed for the first time that the company would be launching a mid-range handset and that it could hit the shelves in the third quarter of 2013. Subsequently, a Powerpoint slide leaked detailing the BlackBerry handset roadmap which indicates that as well as a mid-range phone, the company is also planning two phablets and a widescreen tablet.
In a bid to attract customers from other platforms, Blackberry also this week launched a virtual version of its BB10 operating system. By navigating to blackberry.com/glimpse via an Android or iPhone handset's web browser, users can see what it would be like to use the Canadian company's OS instead. Visitors to the page can sample the interface, the predictive keyboard, BlackBerry Messenger, and BlackBerry Hub.
Most in the industry agree however that despite being an excellent platform and one with two excellently built and conceived initial handsets -- the Z10 and Q10 -- until it can attract app developers to its BlackBerry World app store, smartphone owners are not likely to jump ship from either Android or iOS to BlackBerry.