For a company that always seemed to be on board with BlackBerry even when others weren’t, the news that Rogers won’t sell the Z30 is likely a huge blow to the smartphone manufacturer.
It was announced earlier today that TELUS, Bell and MTS will offer the BlackBerry Z30 on October 15th, but the Rogers name was conspicuously absent from that list. Now, according to the CP’s David Friend, Rogers thinks BlackBerry’s current lineup — specifically the Z10 and Q10 — is good enough for their customer base.
“We believe we can fulfil our customers’ demand for a BlackBerry device with our current line-up.”
Rogers was a big part of the BlackBerry Z10′s announcement in January, but is likely hedging against further poor sales. The Z10 has reportedly sold quite poorly in Canada, with BlackBerry writing down nearly $1 billion in inventory. That being said, Rogers claimed in February that it had a fantastic launch, selling “the highest volume of BlackBerry smartphones in its history” over the first weekend of availability.
Since then, BlackBerry has tried desperately to flesh out its content ecosystem, partnering with numerous developers to bring apps like WhatsApp, Wall Street Journal, Globe & Mail, Flipboard and Skype to the OS. Still, with the commoditization of Android lowering costs of entry- and mid-range smartphones, perhaps there isn’t space anymore for a product like the Z30, which offers users a combination of personal and business features, but does neither significantly better than its competitors.
We had a chance to play with the Z30 and found it to be the best BlackBerry yet, but it may not be the phone consumers want from the company. With the impending release of BBM for Android and iOS, remaining BlackBerry users are set to be reintroduced to many friends and family members that previously left the company’s popular messaging platform, but few are likely to see the Z30 as a compelling or necessary upgrade over the Z10. Whom the Z30 will appeal to depends on how it’s marketed, but Rogers clearly thinks that the large smartphone segment — screens over 4.7-inches — are well served by Android OEMs like Samsung, Motorola, Sony, HTC and LG.