BlackBerry unveils new Z30 smartphone

BlackBerry Ltd. has launched its newest flagship smartphone today, calling it the company’s “biggest, fastest, and most advanced.”

Branded as the Z30, the phone runs BlackBerry’s operating system (OS), BlackBerry 10 version 10.2. The display measures at five inches, with a Super AMOLED display for clarity and vividness.

The Z30 has a 1.7 gigahertz processor with quad-core graphics, and it is also all-touch, housing a 2880 mAh battery, the largest battery BlackBerry has ever put into one of its smartphones. That should give the phone 25 hours of juice before it needs to be charged again, BlackBerry says.

For its sound system, BlackBerry added stereo speakers with “BlackBerry Natural Sound,” what it’s touting as a technology that is supposed to make conversations sound like they’re face-to-face. It also allows users to hear variations and nuances in callers’ tones.

Compared to its predecessors, one of the biggest updates to the Z30 is the BlackBerry Priority Hub, which allows users to manage conversations and notifications. The Priority Hub is supposed to learn which conversations and which people are most important to users, making it quicker and easier to find their message. It also collects priority messages in users’ email accounts and social networks to help them find the most important information more easily.

BlackBerry Z30, homescreen.
BlackBerry Z30, homescreen.

Another change is BBM Now, another add-on to BlackBerry 10 OS, version 10.2. Users can now preview any message as it arrives in their apps, or if their phone is still in their lock screen. If users choose to read the full content and respond, they can tap on it, but they can also dismiss it and get to it later. To answer BBM messages, users don’t even have to leave the app they’re using.

The phone also has a new antenna technology called the Paratek Antenna, giving users better reception when they’re in areas where signals are weak. That should make for faster data transfers and less dropped calls.

The BlackBerry Z30, recording video calls.
The BlackBerry Z30, recording video calls.

The Z30 is geared towards business, said Carlo Chiarello, executive vice-president for products, in a statement.

“The smartphone rounds out the BlackBerry 10 portfolio and is designed for people looking for a smartphone that excels at communications, messaging and productivity,” he said.

The first regions to carry the Z30 will be in the U.K. and the Middle East, with all other regions getting the phone by the holiday season, BlackBerry said.

Pricing, as well as a Canadian release date, have yet to be announced.

Angry Birds comes to BlackBerry 10

In another blockbuster update from BlackBerry, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons are now available on the BlackBerry 10 OS. The Angry Birds franchise has gained notoriety as by far the most successful mobile game and the accompanying merchandise such as stuffed toys, T-shirts, and phone cases.

An image in an e-mail from BlackBerry announces the good news for Angry Birds fans.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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