BlackBerry surprised us all with the announcement of a brand-new smartphone at the beginning of March 2015. Before you ask, no it doesn’t have a QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry’s already released two phones with physical keyboards fairly recently, and now it’s giving a full touchscreen device a try (again) with the BlackBerry Leap.
Updated on 03-31-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added news of the Leap’s official launch in Canada and India.
The Leap will come in grey and white, and costs $280 unlocked, making it a relatively affordable option for budget-conscious people. The device is now up for sale for $275 on BlackBerry’s website. Unfortunately, the Leap won’t work on U.S. Cellular, Sprint, or Verizon, but it will function on T-Mobile or AT&T’s networks.
The BlackBerry Leap is also available in Canada at carriers including Rogers, Telus, and Bell, as well as Wind Mobile and Sasktel stores. The phone will be free to Canadians with a two-year contract, or they can get it for $350 unsubsidized, reports CTV. India is selling the Leap as well.
BlackBerry decided to go for what has become a standard size for a “small” smartphone. As such, the Leap has a 5-inch HD screen with almost no bezels around its sides. The screen is what BlackBerry calls edge-to-edge, and although it’s not Full HD or Quad HD, it should look sharp enough for a mid-range phone.
An unspecified Qualcomm processor, running at 1.5GHz, powers the device, alongside 2GB of RAM. BlackBerry packed 16GB of storage into the device, but it also has a MicroSD card slot for memory expansion. To round out the spec sheet, there’s an 8-megapixel camera on the back that can record 720p video, and a large 2800mAh battery inside. BlackBerry says the Leap should last you through a very busy period of 25 hours without stopping.
Since it has a touchscreen, the Leap runs the latest version of BlackBerry OS 10.3.1, which means it has the Hub, Blend, and BlackBerry Messenger built into the device. All of BlackBerry’s top-end security features are also available on the phone, which is targeted at young professionals. You can also download apps from the Amazon Appstore in addition to BlackBerry World.
If the Leap’s not quite the leap forward you want, then BlackBerry also teased a crazy smartphone with two screens and an old-school sliding keyboard, called “the Slider,” at the Leap’s launch event, saying it will arrive soon. For now, all you young professionals who don’t want an Android or an iPhone, the Leap is waiting over at BlackBerry’s website.