Signs of life at BlackBerry are still emerging, despite recent layoffs, an $84 million quarterly loss reported in June and record-low market share.
Leaked photos show an upcoming BlackBerry smartphone/phablet with a 5-in. display that will launch with the name Z30 instead of the earlier-expected name A10.
Supply chain provider ETrade Supply released photos this week of an opened smartphone that uses a related name, the Z00, which designates a coming family of Z devices.
Tech Web site BGR posted the photos from ETrade and linked them to earlier photos of what was believed to be then called the A10.
The photos indicate the Z30 will have a 2,800 mAh battery as rumored before. Other reported specifications show the device includes a 1.7 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, 16 GB of internal storage, LTE, NFC, and a microSD slot. It will run BlackBerry 10.2, according to reports.
Reports also indicate it will be the only BlackBerry 10 phone added for 2013 release, in addition to the Z10 touchscreen smartphone, the Q10 qwerty smartphone and the cheaper Q5, also with a qwerty keyboard. As recently as June, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said more phones would be coming, but it was unclear how many more would come in 2013.
Meanwhile, Blackberry is seriously considering going private in a bid to revive its fortunes, the Reuters news service reported today. No deal is imminent and no sale process is under way, although the board is "warming up" to the idea, Reuters reported, citing a an unidentified source.
BlackBerry reported it shipped 6.8 million smartphones in its first fiscal quarter, below analyst expectations, while recording an $84 million loss.
Earlier this week, IDC reported BlackBerry shipped 6.8 million smartphones in the quarter that ended June 30, down from 7.7 million a year earlier. With growth in other platforms, such as Android, iOS and Windows Phone, that meant BlackBerry dropped to 2.9% market share in global smartphones, down from 4.9% a year earlier. It is the lowest level of smartphone share for BlackBerry since IDC has tracked mobile phones.
In late July, BlackBerry laid off 250 workers at a product testing facility in Waterloo, Ontario, where BlackBerry is headquartered. The company had 12,700 employees in March, down from 19,000 in 2011.
After the 250 workers were laid off, three Blackberry executives also left: Doug Kozak, vice president of corporate IT operations; Carmine Arabia, senior vice president of global manufacturing and supply chain; and Graeme Whittington, vice president of service operations. A spokeswoman called their departures a "second phase of our transformation."
Some analysts have been supportive of BlackBerry, even though it isn't clear when the Z30 will be announced or ship. "BlackBerry 10 has not pulled the company out of the hole merely through top-line growth," said Yankee Group analyst Wally Swain in a blog, noting that executive departures are part of the ongoing reductions that BlackBerry needs to make.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].