The new Leap smartphone from BlackBerry, targeted at up-and-coming professionals, also represents the company's return to making full-touchscreen devices. Unveiled Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the Leap was designed with an emphasis on security and productivity, the company said.
Priced at $275, BlackBerry's new smartphone also is designed to be affordable for young business users. It is scheduled to launch in Europe next month, and will be available (unlocked) through ShopBlackBerry.com. Other markets will be announced closer to April, a spokesperson said.
Other features of the Leap include a 5-inch HD display, an 8-megapixel rear camera, an on-screen keyboard and a long-lasting battery designed to stand up to 25 hours of heavy use. Weighing in at 170 grams, and with a thickness of 9.5 millimeters, the phone is heftier than the latest devices from Apple or Samsung.
Mobile Security Is 'Paramount'
BlackBerry is putting heavy emphasis on the Leap's built-in security protections.
"You live in a world where your valued private photos, messages, and information are one misstep away from going public," said Donny Halliwell, senior product marketing manager, writing in a blog post Tuesday. "Your mobile is at the center of it all, holding everything from banking information and work data to personal photos. Large companies and public figures alike often discover the hard way that mobile security is paramount in our digital landscape."
The company signaled its new approach toward mobile security for the enterprise late last year, when it announced a new partnership with rival phone maker Samsung. The companies joined in a new offering that combines BlackBerry's BES12 cross-platform solution for enterprise mobility management with Samsung's Knox security features for Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
Preloaded with the new BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, the Leap also enables messaging that integrates with a user's computer, tablet or other device. The BlackBerry Blend feature provides integrated access to documents, contacts, media and the calendar function across multiple operating systems, including Windows 7 and up, Mac OS X 10.7 and up and Android 4.4 and up.
'A Smart Move'
We reached out to Ramon Llamas at the analyst firm IDC to learn his thoughts about BlackBerry's Leap strategy.
"It's a smart move," said Llamas, who is research manager for Wearables, Mobile Phones and Smartphones. The new device targets young users who are used to using a touchscreen keyboard rather than BlackBerry's traditional physical keyboard, while also offering all the other "goodies" of a typical BlackBerry, he said.
With its affordable price tag, the Leap could also prove appealing to young professionals in "a lot of emerging markets," Llamas told us.
Rather than marking a turnaround strategy to build its dwindling share of the global smartphone market, the Leap underscores BlackBerry's place as a strong niche player, Llamas said.
"I don't think it's intended for everybody," he said.
Posted: 2015-03-07 @ 2:46pm PT
Leap over MalwarePhones & Spyphones...
Leap is a smart move for everyone who wants a very secure smartphone at a very, very convenient price...