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When you are a mobile phone manufacturer, it is vitally important to keep the flow of new products coming. On the surface, the BlackBerry Leap does look brand new, but it doesn't take very long to work out that this device isn't really very new at all.
The BlackBerry Leap has a 5" 720 x 1280 pixel display, a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage plus a microSD slot, an 8 megapixel primary and 2 megapixel secondary camera, LTE support, and FM radio plus all the usual smartphone features that you would expect.
In almost every regard though, the Leap is exactly like BlackBerry Z30 from 2013. Except that it is a bit slower, but has better LTE support, and rather obviously it comes in a different case. Other than that, the Z30 and the Leap are almost impossible to tell apart, and the Z30 has even been upgraded to run the same OS.
So what are BlackBerry playing at? They've had some recent niche successes with the Classic and the Passport, but they have hardly ever had any success with touch-only devices such as this (the bargain basement Z3 is something of an exception). In fact, the Z10 almost bankrupted the company, and the Playbook is still hanging around in retail channels four years after it came to market. So there's probably very little point spending a lot of money developing something that might not sell, but unfortunately it shows.
The Leap (and the Z30) do have some good points. The BlackBerry 10 OS has improved a lot since it was announced, if you are careful with your apps then the battery life is extremely impressive and for a warmed-over handset the Leap certainly looks quite smart. You can run Android apps (from the Amazon market) on it.. but of course if you simply bought an Android phone then it wouldn't matter.
Ultimately, this device seems rather pointless. People who wanted all-touch devices moved to iOS, Android or even Windows a long time ago, and anyone using a Z10 or Z30 will find that the Leap is almost identical. Perhaps it is going to be really cheap?
BlackBerry haven't given any guidance on price, the Z30 retails for around €400 but the similarly-specified Microsoft Lumia 640 should retail for less than €200. If BlackBerry want this to sell, then they'll have to be closer to Microsoft's pricing. No guidance was given on availability, but this is hardly going to be a complicated device to make, so we would expect to see it very soon.
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