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BlackBerry Launches 5-Inch Smartphone, Updated OS

Waterloo, Ontario — BlackBerry unveiled its Z30 full-touch smartphone, which is the company’s first smartphone with a 5-inch touchscreen and first with upgraded BlackBerry 10.2 OS.

The phone rolls out beginning next week in the U.K. and Middle East followed by all other regions “going into the holiday season,” the company said. The BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2 will be available for existing BlackBerry 10 smartphones beginning in mid-October depending on carrier approval, the company added.

The company’s other BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones are the Z10 full-touch with a 4.2-inch screen and QWERTY-keyboard-equipped Q10 with 3.1-inch touchscreen, both available in the U.S. The Q5 is a lower-tier BlackBerry 10 device targeted to select markets such as emerging markets.

The new Z30 features 5-inch Super AMOLED display, 1.7 GHz CPU, quad-core graphics processor, and largest battery of any BlackBerry phone at 2,880 mAh, said to deliver up to 25 hours of “mixed use.” The two models in the U.S. feature 1.5GHz CPU.

 The Z30 also adds BlackBerry Natural Sound as part of OS 10.2 to make BBM Voice and BBM Video chats sound more natural, the company said. New antenna technology is said to deliver better connectivity in low-signal areas to provide faster data and fewer dropped calls.

 The company didn’t disclose many more phone details other than to tout its updated OS features, including the ability to preview any message as it arrives — including BBM messages — without leaving the app that the user is in. Users can immediately dismiss the message or tap it to read the full content and respond. If the phone is locked, the company noted, users can tap various icons to see an instant preview of their most recent messages.