Blackberry has used the Mobile World Congress to launch a new touch-screen phone without physical keys. Though the new Blackberry Leap is not the company’s first keyboard-free phone, the news has come as a surprise to many following its chief executive’s announcement last year that it was to focus on “keyboard-centric” products.
The company has recently faced falling sales, shipping 7.9 million devices last year, a significant fall from the 51.1 million handsets it sold in 2011. Blackberry used the launch to talk about the Leap’s various security features. The phone will come with an 8MP camera, a 5 inch 720p display, 16GB of storage, a micro-SD slot and pre-installed anti-malware protection. It is being seen as a mid-range device.
Blackberry is using the handset to target “career-building” young professionals as well as security-conscious businesses. Some experts are saying that the phone will face a great deal of competition due to the number of mid-range phones that have recently been launched by the likes of Microsoft, Sony, LG and Motorola. Some claim that Blackberry is struggling to differentiate itself from its rivals. Blackberry also teased a new curved phone that does feature a keyboard, but did not announce the name of the device or give detailed information about the device.
Blackberry boss John Chen recently said that software developers should be forced to cater for its devices.