New 5in BlackBerry Z30 still carries the same old stench of death

Yes, it looks like a nice phone. No, it won't save BlackBerry.

BlackBerry announced its biggest, most powerful phone yet on Wednesday, but despite that impressive-sounding blurb, the BlackBerry Z30 reeks of "too little, too late" and may just be the last handset ever released by the iconic company.

The BlackBerry Z30 rocks a 5in, 1,280-by-720 Super AMOLED display, a dual-core, 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, and 2GB of RAM--all of which bears a striking similarity to its well-received predecessor, the 4.2-inch BlackBerry Z10. But this is no stagnant screen size boost: The BlackBerry Z30 features the new 10.2 update for the BB 10 OS, and it packs in a 2,880mAh battery that BlackBerry claims can last a whopping 25 hours between charges. BlackBerry's press release has the nitty-gritty details about NFC, LTE, etc. if you're interested.

You probably shouldn't be. If you're a CrackBerryHead with big hands, you might appreciate the Z30, but it's hard to see this phoning appealing to, well, pretty much anybody else.

Trials and tribulations

The Z30 may be the beefiest BlackBerry yet, but it's still behind the cutting-edge competition. The internals place the Z30 on par with phones like the (year old, and now discontinued) Nexus 4 and the Moto X--a phone that was blatantly built to not compete on the specification front.

What's more, BlackBerry's app store is in shambles, with around 47,000 apps in its 120,000 app-strong library pumped out by a single high volume, low quality developer. The first round of BB 10 phones whiffed with would-be customers, and in April, The Wall Street Journal reported that returns for the BlackBerry Z10 exceeded its meager sales. Another analyst said Z10 production was slashed in half in July.

"It is very clear that BlackBerry 10 isn't a success after all, and won't save the company," IDC research director Francisco Jeronimo told PC World in August, after BlackBerry's latest round of disastrous quarterly results.

Even the release timing for the new BlackBerry Z30 stinks of fail: It was announced the same day that the first wave of iPhone reviews hit the web. Way to go, guys.

Given all that, it should come as no surprise that BlackBerry is actively trying to sell itself off (in whole or in pieces) or merge with another company. That's another reason to stop and pause before eyeballing the 5-inch BlackBerry Z30. You may be a fervent BlackBerry lover, but do you really be locked into a 2 year contract for a mid-range phone from a company that might not exist at the end of the year?

If the BlackBerry Z30 is anything like the BlackBerry Z10, it'll be a well-designed piece of hardware with a fairly fresh (though app-deprived) smartphone operating system. But it still won't be enough to bring new BlackBerry users into the fold, and it definitely won't be enough to resuscitate this dying company.

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Brad Chacos

TechHive (US)
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