BlackBerry’s latest smartphone features a 5 inch touchscreen display, a promise of all-day battery life, and no physical keyboard. The company unveiled the BlackBerry Leap at Mobile World Congress.
The new phone features the BlackBerry 10 operating system and support for Android apps from the Amazon Appstore. But overall it’s a rather unremarkable device that has nearly identical specs to last year’s BlackBerry Z30.
Both phones feature 5 inch, 1280 x 720 pixel touchscreen displays, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, 8MP cameras, and dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors — although last year’s phone actually has a more powerful 1.7 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro chip compared with the BlackBerry Leap’s 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Plus processor.
I suppose if the new model has one thing going for it, it’s the price: the BlackBerry Leap is expected to sell for about $275 without a contract.
Other features for the new phone include a 2800 mAh battery which BlackBerry says should be good for up to 25 hours of battery life, a rear camera with auto-focus and video image stabilization, a 2MP fixed-focus front camera, and support for microSD cards with up to 128GB of storage.
The phone supports 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, and 4G LTE.
BlackBerry is positioning the Leap as a device for “young mobile professionals who value security and privacy, which is to say that the company figures it’s the software that makes the phone special. But there are a growing number of options for folks looking for phones that emphasis privacy and security.
Later this year BlackBerry even plans to bring its own software and services to other platforms including Android, iOS and Windows. So it’s not entirely clear why young mobile professionals would opt for a BlackBerry device with outdated specs… unless they really want a device with BlackBerry’s hardware keyboard — which the Leap doesn’t have.
BlackBerry did introduce a few new phones with keyboards last year including the BlackBerry Classic and BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry teased an upcoming phone with a slide-out keyboard at Mobile World Congress. It’s easier to see the value proposition of those devices.