BlackBerry could be about to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with a 5-inch version of the Z10. A phablet packing BlackBerry 10 software could be BlackBerry's secret weapon to regain its past glory, according to experts.
The struggling phone-fabricator could launch the 5-inch touchscreen phone-cum-tablet in the last three months of the year, the crucial holiday season. That's according to Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek, despite other experts arguing phablets are a fad.
Misek also expects BlackBerry to launch mid-range versions of the new phones: one with a keyboard, like the Q10, and one with just a touchscreen, like the Z10, but you don't need to be an industry expert or in possession of a crystal ball to see that coming.
By mid-range, Misek reckons the new phones will cost less than £250 in US prices, although the usual British gadget mark-up will no doubt bump that up.
The Note kicked off the trend for oversized phones -- or was it an undersized tablet? Nope, it's a phablet. The inbetween-screen seems to have taken off with the success of the Note and Note 2 spawning a raft of 5-inch and 6-inch rivals, such as the LG Optimus Pro, HTC Butterfly and Huawei Ascend Mate -- and even the new Samsung Galaxy Mega. Meanwhile the Note 3 is expected to balloon to a whopping 6.3 inches.
Z10 returns 'typical'
Misek also rubbished recent rumours that the Z10 was being returned in droves by unsatisfied customers. Return rates for the phone are said to be "typical" -- but it seems a number of people are buying the Z10 and throwing their toys out of the pram after opening the box and discovering there's no keyboard.
Honestly, who buys a phone without even looking at a picture of it? "Walpole, fetch me the very latest BlackBerry and hang the cost... Walpole! What in blazes is this? There are no buttons, Walpole, you blithering idiot -- you're dismissed from my employ! Take your seven children and return to the gutter from whence you came. And remove this buttonless abomination from my sight!"
Are phablets here to stay? Can BlackBerry take on the Note, the iPhone and the massed ranks of Android? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.