BlackBerry joined the Black Friday deal-making, selling the Z10, unlocked, for $199, a savings of $200. The offer runs through Dec. 2.
"Call the shots," BlackBerry said in a flier. "You can switch carriers for a better monthly rate anytime. Or use a less costly, pre-paid SIM card when traveling abroad. You decide."
The Z10 was the first of five BlackBerry 10-running devices the company introduced this year, and reviews were very positive. The Z10 has a 4.2-inch touch display, a solid 8-megapixel rear camera with 1080p video recording, 16GB of internal storage, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks and, best of all, the perks of the BB10 architecture, including the Hub and Peek features.
Still, $199 may be a hard sell for a nearly 1-year-old phone offered by a company whose future, to some, seems questionable.
John Chen, BlackBerry's new interim CEO, has said BlackBerry is looking "toward the future," not back.
"We have begun moving the company to embrace a multi-platform, BYOD world by adopting a new mobility-management platform and a new device strategy. We are also leveraging our tremendous assets, including BBM, our network and QNX," Chen said in a Nov. 13 blog post.
BlackBerry announced Nov. 4 that it was backing away from a $4.7 billion offer from Fairfax Financial Holdings, its largest stakeholder, which intended to take the company private. Instead, it accepted a $1 billion investment from a group of investors, Fairfax included, and announced an aggressive change in leadership, with Chen, who with Sybase proved his ability to turn around an ailing tech company, in the lead role.
25 Days of Gifts
Current BlackBerry customers, and anyone who snatches up a Z10 before the offer ends, can expect a month of gifts, BlackBerry announced Nov. 29. From Dec. 1 through Christmas Day, anyone with a BlackBerry 10 device can visit BlackBerry World and each day download a select premium app for free.
"Every day, for 25 days, you'll get access to a premium selection of apps, movies and games that are available to you for free," BlackBerry said in a blog post announcing the deal. "But be sure to check BlackBerry World daily because each gift is only available for 24 hours."
If you missed it, the Dec. 1 gift was "Angry Birds Season."
The BBM Experience
BBM, formerly known as BlackBerry Messenger, is BlackBerry's most popular application and is now available for download to Android and iOS devices.
Soon, though, it will come preinstalled on some Android devices shipping to regions where BBM is particularly popular—the Middle East, Africa, India, Indonesia and Latin America.
"The uptake we have seen for BBM since the launch on Android and iPhone is amazing," Andrew Bocking, executive vice president for BBM, said in a Nov. 26 statement. "We're thrilled to be working with leading Android smartphone manufacturers from across the globe to help bring their customers the best out-of-the-box experience with BBM preinstalled."