BlackBerry Unveils The Leap, Its Latest Touchscreen Phone
It appears that BlackBerry is back to making touchscreen smartphones again. It recently introduced the Leap, a touchscreen device that the company hopes will attract users, especially those who are startup founders or those that belong to the young demographic.
Last December, the Canada-based phone maker launched the BlackBerry Classic, a device that tries to go against the flow by featuring a full QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry Classic may be considered unusual in the age of touchscreen phones, but no doubt diehard BlackBerry fans appreciated its old school charm and retro feel.
This time around, BlackBerry is introducing a device that is more in tune with the present. The Leap features a 5-inch HD display screen (1280 x 720, 293 ppi), and is equipped with an 8-megapixel camera (with 1080p HD video recording) on the rear side. It also comes with 16 gigabytes of internal storage, and is nicely complemented with microSD support for additional storage space. According to BlackBerry, the Leap's 2,800 mAh battery can power the device for up to 25 hours of heavy use before needing to be recharged.
Hardware specifications aside, the Leap also comes with the BlackBerry Messenger (which the company is positioning as a productivity tool), its Assistant voice-and-text command feature, its security creds, and a pair of app stores, BlackBerry World and the Amazon Appstore.
Aside from unveiling the Leap, there were reports that BlackBerry top executive Ron Louks teased a yet-to-be-announced BlackBerry device that features a keyboard that slides in and out. Many expect this device to be officially unveiled within this year.
During this year's Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, Spain, BlackBerry also took the opportunity to introduce the BlackBerry Experience Suite. This actually consists of three suites of services that will function across rival platforms like Android, iOS, and even Windows. Two of the suites will offer services that focus on productivity, communications, and collaboration. The third one will offer encryption and privacy controls for document files and email messages.
As for the Leap, it is expected to go on sale next month in April at a price of $275 without contract. The device will reportedly become available initially in European and Asian markets.
Even though BlackBerry is slowly shifting to business services, roughly three quarters of its revenues come from its smartphones. Last year in 2014, the company introduced four new devices: the inexpensive BlackBerry Z3 (made in collaboration with Foxconn), a Porsche edition BlackBerry, the large BlackBerry Passport, and of course, the BlackBerry Classic.