BlackBerry Update Roundup: New Devices, App Store, Profitability? - Technologist
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BlackBerry Update Roundup: New Devices, App Store, Profitability?

Yes, BlackBerry still exists. And if you're wondering why we're covering a nearly defunct product line, well, it's because lawyers are diehards: if anyone is still on the BlackBerry train, he or she probably has an "Esq." attached to his or her name.

Plus, who doesn't love a good comeback story? It's still possible, though BlackBerry hasn't done much with its last few devices, for the company to hit one out of the park. Let's take a look at what they have planned.

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BlackBerry Passport, Classic, Z3

What's in store for the company, phone-wise, in 2014? Three devices, to be exact: the Z3, the classic, and the Passport, reports Engadget.

The Z3 is your standard rectangular touchscreen slab, not altogether different, at a distance, from any generic Android phone, and not much different either from BlackBerry's last two touchscreen phones that ran BlackBerry OS 10.

The Classic (formerly known as the Q20), is the one many people have been waiting for: it brings the classic BlackBerry Belt (the four buttons and optical trackpad) from the old school models, and pairs it with a touchscreen and a keyboard. (It's the formerly ubiquitous BlackBerry Curve with the new OS and a touchscreen.)

And then there's the big surprise: the Passport. It's bigger than a Galaxy Note 3, it has a QWERTY keyboard like the Classic, it's oddly angular, and it has a huge 4.5-inch square-shaped high-definition screen.

App Gap Collapsed

In my brief time with one of the company's recent QWERTY devices, I found the Android compatibility feature frustrating: while you could get Android apps to work with the devices, it required a ton of work.

Now, the company is going to include the Amazon Android App store out of the box, which should make the process of installing and using Android apps far easier.  And while that app store isn't nearly as robust as Google Play or Apple's App Store, with this announcement, and the Amazon Fire Phone launch, expect more developers to take the time to upload their apps to Amazon's storefront.

Company's  Outlook 

For a company that has the "are they dead yet?" question constantly looming, the financial reports are surprisingly positive, and may indicate that a rebound is on the horizon. In its earning reports issued last week, depending on the accounting method used, the company either made a small amount, or lost a small amount -- either way, it was near break-even, which is a massive improvement over the bleeding red ink of the last few years. 

It's done so by emphasizing enterprise solutions, rather than selling phones. It's also interesting to note that the company has stopped releasing the breakdown of BB OS7 versus 0S10 devices sold -- the former, older devices sold more than twice as many as the newer devices last quarter, reports Engadget. 

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