BlackBerry launched its third Android-based device today (we reported about the possibility yesterday). It is available for a lower price than competing products from rivals such as Apple and Alphabet’s Google.
Strong competition for iPhone 7 and Pixel
BlackBerry is a pioneer in the smartphone market, but over the past few years, it continuously lost market share to iOS and Android devices. Last month, the company revealed its intentions to focus on software and its mobile management business. For this reason, it decided to outsource the development of its smartphones. This means, according to Reuters, that the DTEK60 is the last device the Canadian firm will buy components for on its own.
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BlackBerry Chief Operating Officer Marty Beard said, “This one is our phone. This is fully our responsibility.”
The BlackBerry DTEK60 sports a 5.5-inch touchscreen and is available for $499. Apple’s iPhone 7 with the same screen size has a starting price of $769, while Google Pixel starts at $649.
Beard said, “If you look at feature by feature by feature, and you’re looking at dimensions and weight and the display and the memory and the camera, the battery, it is a very strong comp to both those devices.”
BlackBerry DTEK60 different from Alcatel’s version
In appearance, the DTEK60 is similar to Alcatel’s Idol 4S, and just like the DTEK50, it is based on a reference design from TCL. The device has a quad-HD resolution and sports a metal frame. It has a dual-glass panel design which looks better than the DTEK50’s utilitarian finish.
In comparison with the Alcatel version, the Canadian firm has upgraded several specs, according to The Verge. It has given it Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor and a higher resolution 21-megapixel rear camera. The battery is quite powerful at 3,000mAh with QuickCharge 3.0. There is a USB Type-C port, a fingerprint scanner mounted on the rear, and a customizable side button as well.
No distribution deal
BlackBerry has not entered into any distribution deal with the telecom companies that typically offer devices along with connections to their communications networks. The company instead is making a direct sales pitch to governments, companies and other large organizations and is also selling the device on its own websites in the U.S., Canada and a few major European countries, notes Reuters.
According to Beard, it is not necessarily an anti-carrier strategy, but the company thinks it is the most efficient and most cost-effective way to reach its customer base. The DTEK60 is launching with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but the company said it is working with Google on an upgrade path for Nougat.