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BlackBerry goes big with the 5-inch Z30 smartphone

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BlackBerry Z30
BlackBerry Z30

BlackBerry is expanding its lineup of smartphones today with the new BlackBerry Z30. The fourth BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the Z30 is the largest and most powerful BlackBerry ever, with a 5-inch Super AMOLED display and new 1.7GHz processor with quad-core graphics. It has the largest battery ever found in a BlackBerry: a 2,880mAh unit, which BlackBerry claims will last up to 25 hours between charges.

Also launching with the Z30 is BlackBerry 10.2, a new version of the BlackBerry platform. Version 10.2 offers a number of enhancements over 10.1, including a reworking of the BlackBerry Hub. The new Priority Hub feature learns users habits over time to present the what it deems are the most important messages culled from email, social networks, and other accounts. BlackBerry 10.2 also offers an improved version of BlackBerry Messenger that provides pop-up previews of new messages and details of received messages from the phone's lock screen.

In addition to the larger screen and faster processor, the Z30 also has stereo speakers and what the company calls BlackBerry Natural Sound. The sound enhancement is designed to improve voice and video calls made over BBM. It allegedly makes callers feel like they are in the same room, though in reality they may be many miles away. There is also a new antenna that promises faster data speeds and fewer dropped calls.

BlackBerry says that the Z30 will be available starting next week in the UK and Middle East, with other regions getting the phone before the holidays. Pricing will be dependent on carriers and regions. The new BlackBerry 10.2 software update is expected to be available for the Z10, Q10, and Q5 starting in mid-October.

Since the launch of BlackBerry 10 and the Z10 earlier this year, BlackBerry has refrained from smothering the market with new hardware choices. Unfortunately, demand for the Z10 and its companion, the Q10, has not been very high among consumers, and the company has openly admitted to pursuing various buyout options. Whether or not a new, big smartphone such as the Z30 can reverse the path BlackBerry has been on all year remains to be seen, but odds are that BlackBerry will need more than that to turn things around.