**Editor's Note: Click here for our list of August's hottest selling smartphones to see how BlackBerrys fared against the competition, or here for our top 10 list of best smartphones in 2013 (so far).**
BlackBerry is rapidly joining the ranks of "niche" smartphone providers as it falls out of favor with most consumers. That's according to the analysts at Yankee Group, who wonder if the once-great Canada-based smartphone manufacturer has given up trying to compete in the mobile-device marketplace.
BlackBerry has just introduced its latest smartphone – the Z30 – based on its BB10 operating system that debuted earlier this year. The Z30 is one of a handful of new "big screen" handsets on the market, with a five-inch display. It has a 1.7 GHz processor with quad-core graphics and the largest battery BlackBerry has ever included in a device.
“BlackBerry itself is becoming a niche with a small-but-so-far-profitable set of devotees," noted Yankee Group senior VP of research Wally Swain, commenting specifically on a Tech Crunch article. " The large screen will help with vision- and dexterity-challenged older executives and plays to the productivity-oriented business users that form the core user group.
Vision and dexterity-challenged? Ouch. The cool factor seems to be missing. Sticking to the company's business roots might be the way to go.
"I suspect this is what drove the launch strategy," Swain added. "BlackBerry tried massive with the Z10 [smartphone] but the product did not move much beyond the loyal base. It was relatively low key with the Q10 and yet the feedback from the operators is that they are happy charging a premium price for the product — which means it is doing well. The closed circle of core BlackBerry users will be waiting for the arrival of this device and a massive launch would only waste cash on consumers who are unlikely to buy anyway."
The Z30 goes on sale next week in the U.K. and the Middle East. Look for it in the U.S. and elsewhere before the holiday season.
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