BlackBerry quietly goes big

Someone call HTC, because this new BB flagship is a dead ringer for the HTC One--the slim silver bezel at the bottom, in particular. But will anyone buy it?

Happier Times: BlackBerry CEO Thornsten Heins unveils the Z10 and N10 smartphones in Q1 2013.
Happier Times: BlackBerry CEO Thornsten Heins unveils the Z10 and N10 smartphones in Q1 2013.
Happier Times: BlackBerry CEO Thornsten Heins unveils the Z10 and N10 smartphones in Q1 2013.

UPDATE: WSJ reports that BlackBerry will cut up to 40% of its workforce.

Alicia Keys was not in the house. In fact, no one was in the house.

BlackBerry took a decidedly lower key approach last night when it quietly (and we mean quietly) launched the 5-inch Z30. It’s a dramatic contrast to the company that appeared triumphant earlier this year when it launched its new BlackBerry 10 mobile platform with a pair of new phones to match. I wouldn’t mind if other tech companies adopted this approach. Do we really need hapless displays of acting, over-the-top video interludes, and Ryan Seacrest-esque announcers at tech product launches? Kudos to BlackBerry for getting this right.

Someone call HTC, because this new BB flagship is a dead ringer for the HTC One–the slim silver bezel at the bottom, in particular.

The specs are OK. Not that any of this will matter in the long-term: the aforementioned 5-inch Super AMOLED display, 1.7-gigahertz processor, 2,880 mAh battery (nice), and stereo speakers. Running BB 10.1, the phone ships in October. Price was not announced–free would be a good starting place.

But the real problem is that while I (perhaps) jest when I say “Apple is Dead,” ($420 billion market cap) I really mean it when I say “BlackBerry is Dead.” ($5.5 billion)

Rightfully so, consumers, and especially enterprise customers, are loath to buy products from a company that likely won’t be around the day after tomorrow.

As we all know BlackBerry is seeking strategic alternatives at this point. There’s still good IP and value in piece parts of this once formidable company.

The problem: who would be willing to buy BlackBerry?

Microsoft recently bought Nokia, so it made its major move (and, contrary to the court of public opinion, I like).

Apple makes its own hardware. Any kind of acquisition would involve software/services (Pinterest, I’m telling you!).

Google. Well, come on now, let’s be serious.

Amazon…? Nope.

So that pretty much leaves one company that will likely buy BlackBerry:

Oracle.

Perfect. I can just see Larry’s promo now: buy an Oracle BlackBerry on two year contract and get a free copy of MySQL (and two tickets to America’s Cup).

(PS- the real answer: China) 

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