BlackBerry has released a new smartphone running their old BB 7 operating system. This comes just after Blackberry announced that they would be considering potential buyout options.
The BlackBerry 9720 comes with the once popular QWERTY layout resulting in a low-res 2.5-inch screen. The screen size itself will be a limiting factor as to how well the 9720 sells worldwide.
As an emerging market device, the BlackBerry 9720 could do very well however. With limited specs but a powerful business-class operating system, customers in Asia and Latin America may jump at the new smartphone.
No pricing information has been revealed but we do know that it will be relatively cheap simply because it is only half as powerful as current high-end devices like the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4.
BlackBerry 10 is still be using on all of their flagship models such as the Z10 and Q10 but with unimpressive sales for those devices, turning back to BB 7 makes sense. They are not even attempting to enter the US market--based off of the release information--due to a lack of interest from US customers. However, the BlackBerry 9720 will be released in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
All of these non-US countries have populations that could benefit from a phone that is cheaper but still powerful in terms of software capabilities. BBM is being pushed with the updated BB 7 OS.
The 9720 includes a dedicated BBM button for quick social networking features. BBM allows users to post to Twitter and Facebook simultaneously and with a dedicated button, the process is even easier.
With BBM and other software features separating BlackBerry from other devices, their software side will likely be the first to go if a buyout does occur. Most analysts have stated that BlackBerry's value comes from their software business and therefore a partial buyout of their patents is more likely than a full acquisition.