BlackBerry is hanging in there, and it’s got a new device that it hopes will resuscitate its presence within the consumer market.
The BlackBerry Leap is its name, and it’s an altogether more conventional device. In recent months we’ve seen both the Passport and the Classic launch to mixed receptions, but the Leap is noticeably different from the two.
The main difference? The complete absence of a physical keyboard. The Leap has a 5-inch touchscreen display that covers (almost) the entirety of the front of the device, just like a normal smartphone.
It’s not an entirely novel idea for BlackBerry (see the Z30), so we’re not exactly dead certain that it’ll turn the company’s fortunes around, but it’s always good to be putting new smartphones out there.
The key spec for the Leap appears to be battery life. It has a fairly standard 2,800 mAh battery, but BlackBerry claims it can get an impressive 25 hours of ‘heavy use’ on one charge.
Part of that is probably down to a moderate 720p resolution on that 5-inch display, combined with a Snapdragon S4 Plus 1.5GHz dual-core processor – neither of which should be a major drain on battery.
The main and front-facing cameras are eight and two megapixels respectively, which is pretty good for a midrange device. Hopefully BlackBerry’s worked on its imaging software to get the most out of them.
As BlackBerry has always prided itself in creating unifying devices that serve as your one communications and media hub, the Leaps 16GB of internal storage will be expandable by up to 128GB courtesy of microSD card.
At a glance, we’re not really too sure how to feel about the Leap. It certainly looks nice, which is something we’ve come to expect from BlackBerry in recent years – it actually bears a strong resemblance to the Jakarta, a handset released exclusively in Asia last year.
We’re just not sure if the internals are enough to get people talking. And then there’s still the issue of the BlackBerry Operating System.
Whilst BB OS has certainly come on leaps and bounds in the last year, we’re starting to sound like a broken record when mentioning how far behind it is in terms of apps and features compared to Android and iOS (and perhaps even Windows).
Importantly, though, the BlackBerry Leap will ship with Amazon App Store pre-loaded onto it, which grants users to the entire range of apps available on Amazon devices. Android apps, essentially, but a smaller selection than on offer in the Google Play Store.
No release date or price has been announced yet. If it’s in the £200-300 range then we could be interested… But we have a feeling BlackBerry may not be so generous.