BlackBerry Announces New Smartphone as Q5 Goes on Sale

Board explores ‘strategic alternatives’ for struggling company
By Cindy Chan
Cindy Chan
Cindy Chan
August 14, 2013 Updated: August 14, 2013

BlackBerry introduced a new smartphone Tuesday just as its latest device running the BlackBerry 10 operating system went on sale in Canada, a day after the struggling company announced it is considering exploring “strategic alternatives” including a possible company sale.

The BlackBerry 9720, which features the iconic company’s Qwerty keyboard and runs the BlackBerry 7.1 OS, is set to hit the market “beginning in the coming weeks” in Asia, EMEA, and Latin America, according to a company news release on Aug. 13.

Meanwhile, the Blackberry Q5, also with a full Qwerty physical keyboard, arrived on store shelves in Canada the same day, following the Z10 touch-screen smartphone and the Q10 keyboard model introduced earlier this year. 

These developments followed the company’s announcement on Monday that its board of directors has formed a special committee to explore “strategic alternatives” in the hope of accelerating the adoption of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

Along with a possible sale of the company, the Waterloo-based smartphone maker said that its options could also include joint ventures, partnerships or alliances, or other alternatives.

BlackBerry shares moved up last Friday following rumours that the company’s management may take the firm private.

The QNX-based BlackBerry 10 OS replaced the old BlackBerry OS and distinguishes the BB10 phones from those running Apple’s iOS and Google Inc.’s Android.

Despite the revamped OS, growing competition from these rivals has left the company badly beaten.

The BlackBerry 9720 features an updated interface that lets users swipe to unlock the phone, along with other enhancements, according to the company.

Cindy Chan
Cindy Chan