BlackBerry is no longer focusing on beating the iPhone and Android, but that doesn't mean it's giving up on smartphones entirely.The ailing firm unveiled its new Q20 smartphone on Tuesday, a device that tries to marry two separate mobile technology worlds. It comes with a physical keyboard, an old-school trackpad, and menu, send, back and end buttons. But it also has an iPhone 4-like 3.5-inch touchscreen.
The Q20 will likely appeal to longtime BlackBerry users who have resisted transitioning to touchscreen-only phones. But drawing new customers is another matter.
"The Q20 is a good way to shore up the base, which is important, but what it doesn't do is provide a compelling reason for new people to switch from Android or iPhone to BlackBerry," said David Braun, CEO of strategic consulting firm Capstone.
The Q20 will be available "in the second half of 2014," BlackBerry said. Pricing details have yet to be announced.
The news comes as BlackBerry attempts to reverse its years-long decline with a new collection of devices, a renewed focus on business customers and a push in software and services that can run on phones made by its competitors.
The task won't be easy. BlackBerry's recent financial results have been awful, with the company posting a whopping $4.4 billion loss for the quarter that ended in November.
Leading the transition effort is new CEO John Chen, who turned around the once-struggling software maker Sybase and sold it to SAP (SAP) in 2010.
"We have engineered a new strategy to stabilize the company and restore our customers' confidence in BlackBerry," Chen said in a statement Tuesday.