BlackBerry today made several announcements at an event in Jakarta, chief among them news of a new handset. The BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition is a large-screened, inexpensive handset that has a solid chance of driving sales in the BlackBerry-crazed country of Indonesia.
The two biggest features of the Z3 Jakarta Edition that developers need concern themselves with are: BBM and the Bahasa typing experience. BBM is of course BlackBerry's (now platform-agnostic) messaging application. BBM has been empowered in the last year with Channels and BBM Now for instantaneous connections. Importantly, the Z3 supports custom Indonesian BBM Stickers and Channels (mini social networks) unique to Indonesia. Developers can take advantage of BlackBerry's BBM developer tools to build apps that might appeal to Indonesia's 238 million residents.
BlackBerry also made it a cinch to switch between Bahasa and English with a custom shortcut on the keyboard. Both the Bahasa and English keyboards learn over time and will help users type more accurately. This is a plus for developers because they can write apps for either language, expanding the reach of their potential audience. Developers will be able to write apps in either language, and target consumers via country-specific sections of the BlackBerry World app store.
As for the device itself, the new Z3 variant covers the smartphone basics and then some. It runs BlackBerry OS 10.2.1 and offers a 5-inch screen with 960 x 540 pixels, making for adequate resolution. The phone is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and has 1.5GB of RAM with 8GB of internal storage. It supports microSD cards up to 32GB for expanded storage.
Photogs will be happy about the 5-megapixel main camera with 1080p HD video capture and the 1.1-megapixel shooter for selfies. BlackBerry claims the 2,500mAh battery is good or 15.5 hours of talk time or more than 16 days of standby time. The phone supports reasonably quick HSPA+ networks, but not LTE 4G networks. Thankfully, it includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
"BlackBerry has changed the way millions of people around the world stay connected. From conception to delivery, the BlackBerry Z3, Jakarta Edition was designed specifically with our Indonesian customers in mind," said BlackBerry CEO John S. Chen. "This device gives users more ways to connect, share and communicate, providing the best tool for secure, reliable communications and collaboration with friends, family and co-workers."
BlackBerry said the BlackBerry Z3 Jakarta Edition will be in stores beginning May 15. Pricing wasn't disclosed, but the company says the phone will be affordable.