BlackBerry launches new smartphone in Africa

BlackBerry launches new smartphone in Africa The Leap is the first Blackberry smartphone to feature a touchscreen keypad. (Image source: BlackBerry)BlackBerry has announced the African launch of its latest smartphone, the BlackBerry Leap

The new device, the first BlackBerry model to feature a touchscreen keyboard, was released in Nigeria and South Africa this week.

The company said the Leap features the new BlackBerry 10.3.1 operating system, a five-inch HD display and a 2800 mAh battery which, in combination with optimized power consumption, allows for up to 25 hours of “heavy use”.

The device also comes with encryption support, built-in malware protection, and back-up, wipe and restore features, as well as featuring BlackBerry Assistant, which the manufacturer said is the first digital assistant that can be used with voice and text commands to manage email, contacts, calendar and other applications.

A survey earlier this year of 3,500 mobile users in Africa’s top five mobile markets – including Nigeria and South Africa – suggested that BlackBerry’s share of the market was set to increase from six to 16 per cent across the continent, bucking a global trend away from the brand in recent years.

Commenting on the findings of the Mobile Africa 2015 study, Matt Angus-Hammond, business development lead for survey author GeoPoll said, “BlackBerry introduced most of Africa to the idea of a smartphone, and for the first few years was the flagship brand for the category.

“They initially hit the market through companies who got contracts for their executives, but as new models were introduced the old Blackberries have entered the mass market, and are still regarded as a status symbol in much of Africa.”

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