BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins has discussed plans to make the company relevant in the mobility world beyond smartphones, but people are still most interested in details of their next device. Photo: AFP
The return of Canadian smartphone pioneer BlackBerry to the big leagues has been a simmering narrative in tech circles since chief executive Thorsten Heins took over last year, and news from the US overnight suggests his attempts are continuing apace with details leaking of a new flagship device - the A10.
US tech site CNET carried a pair of stories that show Heins' pursuit of a strategy, which is both bold (no pun intended) and seemingly contradictory. Aside from details of its new phone, the site also runs with an interview with chief operating officer Kristian Tear who says BlackBerry's popular free BBM instant messaging service (also known as BlackBerry Messenger), will be available on iPhones and some Android devices by the end of the year.
This is an advancement of a surprise announcement by Heins at BlackBerry's developer conference in Orlando last month, where he revealed that BBM users who have missed using the platform since abandoning the devices in the rush to the iPhone and other rivals, would soon be able to return by the end of the year ... Without having to return to using BlackBerry devices.
It is part of a broader strategy by Heins to become an integral player in, what he describes, as the mobile computing future, where devices are less important than the services, platforms and systems running on them. Heins is keen to alert reporters and analysts to the fact that its QNX operating system holds an impressive chunk of the nascent market for in car mobile computing apps and services, for example.
COMPETING OR COMPLIMENTARY STRATEGIES?
However its pursuit of the top end handset market with its impressive Z10 touchscreen and now the upcoming successor the A10, shows that it clearly sees the importance of luring customers back from the likes of Apple and Samsung, and competing with HTC, Sony and Nokia for third spot in the handset rankings.
According to the reports, the A10 ... Which is yet to appear in photographs ... will go on sale in the US in November. It will pitched at the high end of the market against devices like the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One and is likely to get an updated version of the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The Rumours suggest it will be an incremental improvement on the Z10, which impressed for its smooth user interface and elegant operating system, but left many lamenting the inevitable paucity of apps available in comparison to Apple and Android.
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