Waterloo, Ontario — BlackBerry has begun selling an unlocked version of its Z30 smartphone direct to U.S. consumers via its ShopBlackBerry.com web store for $499.
Last October, the company began selling its first unlocked phones direct to consumers. They are the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones. Consumers purchasing all three phones can use them on the GSM-based 4G LTE and 4G networks of AT&T and T-Mobile and networks in other countries around the world.
In the U.S., carrier and retailer support for BlackBerry phones using the new BlackBerry 10 OS has not been strong. In the U.S., locked versions of the Z30 have been available only through Verizon’s online store.
ShopBlackBerry.com also offers accessories for the BlackBerry Z30 smartphone.
BlackBerry launched the Z30 last September as the company’s first smartphone with 5-inch touchscreen.
The U.S. version of the Z30 features a 5-inch Super AMOLED display, dual-core 1.5 GHz CPU, quad-core graphics processor and the largest battery of any BlackBerry phone, at 2,880 mAh, said to deliver up to 25 hours of “mixed use.” The Z30 also adds stereo speakers and BlackBerry Natural Sound, which is 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’s other BlackBerry 10 OS smartphones available in the U.S. are the Z10 full-touch with a 4.2-inch screen and QWERTY-keyboard-equipped Q10 with a 3.1-inch touchscreen.