Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

BlackBerry's newest phone gets Rogers' cold shoulder

Z30 will be stocked by Bell, Telus, others

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The BlackBerry Z30 will hit the market in the coming weeks. The Z30 comes with a five-inch display.

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The BlackBerry Z30 will hit the market in the coming weeks. The Z30 comes with a five-inch display.

TORONTO -- BlackBerry (TSX:BB) says its latest smartphone will arrive in Canadian stores later this month, but it won't have the support of one of the country's largest carriers -- Rogers.

Rogers' decision not to stock the Z30 touchscreen model, which will become available in Canada on Oct. 15, comes as a surprise since the Toronto-based wireless and cable company was an early adopter of BlackBerry products.

Rogers also hosted the Canadian debut of the new generation of BlackBerry phones at its headquarters in February, with BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins and Rogers head Nadir Mohamed posing for photos together.

Rogers already stocks BlackBerry's Z10 touchscreen phone, the Q10 keyboard version and a lower-priced Q5 model but isn't adding the larger Z30, which is roughly the size of a Samsung Galaxy S4.

"We believe we can fulfil our customers' demand for a BlackBerry device with our current lineup," said Rogers spokeswoman Patricia Trott in an email to The Canadian Press.

"We continually evaluate which devices to bring to our customers."

BlackBerry says the BlackBerry Z30 will be stocked by other Canadian carriers such as Bell (TSX:BCE) and Telus (TSX:T) as well as retailers such as Best Buy and Future Shop, starting Oct. 15 Prices will be set by the retailers.

The new BlackBerry Z30 was launched in Malaysia in September with little fanfare, shortly before the company announced it would lose nearly $1 billion in the second quarter as it wrote down the value of unsold smartphones and prepared to cut about 4,500 jobs, or 40 per cent of its global workforce.

The Z30 comes with a five-inch screen, improved battery life and faster processor than the models released earlier this year. It's larger than most smartphones, but smaller than the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which the company recently stopped producing after two years.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry filed documents with regulators, which showed sales of its new BlackBerry 10 devices have been faltering. The company also said the launch of its recent strategic review process "may have negatively impacted demand for the company's products" in its most recent quarter.

A potential takeover of BlackBerry has heightened attention on what will happen to the company, with Fairfax Financial (TSX:FFX), BlackBerry's biggest shareholder, emerging last week with a preliminary US$4.7-billion takeover offer.

BlackBerry shares were down 27 cents to $8 in early afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 4, 2013 B17

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