Just very recently at the time of writing somebody somewhere spreads unsubstantiated rumors about BlackBerry not going to release a high-end full-touch BlackBerry device. When other news outlets picked that one up, it had morphed into a full one-sided mudslinging match. I wasn’t impressed at the fact that the only thing that came out of it was “I was right and you’re all wrong”, without even any real talk about why or what has happened. But that’s the case of media. Whatever sells, they write to skew it that way. At least if your bowl of rice (as we have the saying here) is literally dependent on clicks – just not ours. Your bowl of rice ain’t mine, but you don’t have to stoop that low just to put rice into your bowl by slandering.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that, if you take a trip down the memory lane, after the Z30’s launch in 2013, BlackBerry scaled down productions from 6 devices a year to a 4 a year. The earliest device released commercially for the year 2014 was without doubt the Jakarta, which was around less than 90 days ago (boy, that’s some time!) and now we’ve got clear indication of at least 3 more devices launching imminently, or on time/on track. The Passport (the link to register here), The Classic, and the Z3LTE which may also be called Z20 Manitoba (more details will emerge, once we fully comprehend the full picture)
BlackBerry presents the Z3
That way, you have 4 devices spread out for four categories, each catered to a specific audience. The only issue I see is the more vocal “full touch” crowd which, for whatever reasons have been harping about highest end spec in a slab 16:9 slab screen. The problem I see with that isn’t much with BlackBerry (the company) but rather the unrealistic expectations heaped unto BlackBerry to leap on to the latest, highest top end spec. Where does that lead to?
Now just to point a proper picture of what I’m saying, we all know that the Passport was officially revealed around the previous earnings call, and it has been the epitome of BlackBerry’s technological prowess in designing phones. However, the moment it’s released (which makes it one of the higher end machines, in fact the highest announced at that point of time, before other announcements come flooding in), competitors had no choice but to try to one up the design. That includes announcing the Note 4 with a lot of numerical ground breaking stuff.
In light of that, I believe people who look into BlackBerry’s line up should actually ask “What benefit does a high-end full touch phone gives users (prosumers in this case) over a Z30 and Z10 apart from numerical game of one-upping another?” The answer can be varied but I believe that for now it’s not a segment BlackBerry should target for, after all in the case of where I used to write in this forum thread about John Chen’s priority on making money (while others seem to call him stupid and now have to backtrack on those remarks) people tend to just stamp their own views about what BlackBerry should be and what BlackBerry should do (which all armchair CEOs are good at) points that what John Chen has done isn’t an orthodox move that many people have predicted, and he does it in a way that does not provoke the shareholders into thinking that the company is breaking up (heck, its easy to look it that way, but then again John Chen has made the company much more mobile, much more agile, and much more responsive to changes and needs).
If you’re reading this far, then I might as well ask you this. Where does the Z3 fit into, where does the Passport fit into, where does the Classic fit into? No candies for the right answer (although we’ll still like to hear your opinions) but there are main targets for each release of the phones.
I can tell you a better answer to the entire of what I’ve written: BlackBerry doesn’t make a phone just because they want to have a leading edge phone. It serves to cater to an audience to capture. No, I’m not implying consumer market isn’t in the list (or else why the Z3 is even launched, let alone the Z3+LTE which uses a bumped up spec on a different SoC) but I think that BlackBerry saw a better ROI opportunities in other markets. After all the Z10 and Z30 tried to capture that market but were stopped short of reaching their goals, no?
In any case, if I read my notes correctly, my understanding of the road-map (these things aren’t exactly public, and for a good reason; it simply acts as a guide as what is supposed to happen, but not necessarily WILL happen) is that a higher specced than the current Z30 full-touch device should be announced and launched in January, 2015, but made available later (probably in 1-3 months time, if BlackBerry’s history is to be used as a yardstick) for commercial release. What market will that address, I don’t know, because I don’t have the full details and I don’t pretend to know and make weird messianic predictions like a madmen in a raincoat saying things like we’re going to get you an OS leak in 1 week. You get the idea. There are people who have posted (you just have to look around for it, sorry) who are well versed in these kind of things, and discover what BlackBerry are doing for next-gen unreleased devices and have a good idea what their specs are. But if you’re worried about BlackBerry not making a flagship high-end full touch, I don’t think you should.