BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is supposedly planning a high-end handset dubbed “Rio,” which is expected to be launched in 2015, says a report from N4BB. The company has been positioning its product to loyal customers who loved the QWERTY physical keyboards in the original phones, however, it has not ruled out all-touch phones just yet.
BlackBerry targets new users
An N4BB report states, “Today, I am happy to exclusively reveal BlackBerry is in fact working on a new high-end all-touch codenamed ‘Rio.’” The report gave no details about the specs, pricing, or launch date of the new high-end device but said they are not sure whether the company will be able to bring it to market next year or if it will remain stuck in the development phase.
The Canadian smartphone maker has launched many touchscreen phones in the past, namely the Z10, Z30 and the Q5, but it could not ramp up sales as per expectations. Some customers might have upgraded to these phones, abandoning their physical keyboards, but those already using all-touch phones from other brands would hardly be impressed.
BlackBerry was more focused on retaining its user base rather than expanding it. The Passport and the upcoming Classic are for customers who like physical keys but are not upgrading from the Bold or Curve. However, it seems that BlackBerry now wants to attract new users with its high-end model.
No further details available
Last year in January, BlackBerry released its Z10 smartphone, which was not anything like a pocket size powerhouse but definitely was not worthless. The phone had a 4.7-inch 720p display, a quad-core Snapdragon S4 processor, and a fairly decent 8-megapixel camera. At that time, these specifications were that of a high-end phone, and the company is expected to keep a similar approach with the Rio.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has asserted many times that the company will not exit the smartphone market. BlackBerry has always been strong on specs, but it will need to work hard to enhance its software to poach users from rival platforms. The company has a strong road map for 2015 and is mainly focused on affordable, classic, innovative and prestige audiences.