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As BlackBerry Struggles, It Sets Date For Latest Device

Thu, 10/03/2013 - 2:19pm
The Associated Press

WATERLOO, Ont. - Smartphone maker BlackBerry (TSX:BB) says its latest device will arrive in Canada later this month, but it won't have the support of one of the country's largest carriers.

Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) has decided not to stock the new device, after a longtime relationship with BlackBerry on all of its major products.

The BlackBerry Z30 will be released on Oct. 15 at various other mobile phone retailers, who will determine their own prices.

Major carriers like Bell (TSX:BCE) and Telus (TSX:T) will stock the device, as well as retailers like Best Buy and Future Shop.

The new BlackBerry Z30 comes with a five-inch screen, improved battery life and faster processor than the models released earlier this year, and is about the same size as its competitor, the Samsung Galaxy S4.

The device is larger than most smartphones, but smaller than the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, which the company recently stopped producing after two years.

Rogers did not immediately respond for comment on its decision not to carry the new phone. The move comes as a surprise since Rogers was an early adopter of BlackBerry products during the company's infancy.

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

Earlier this week, BlackBerry filed documents with regulators which showed that sales of its new Blackberry 10 devices have been faltering. The company also said that 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 24 cents to $8.03 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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