The new BlackBerry Z30 may be the last BlackBerry

Sadly, a lot of signs point to the demise of the mobile pioneer in 2014

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I've jokingly said the NSA should buy BlackBerry, as that is the company's target customer, and the spooks will continue to have security needs not supported by Apple, Google, Samsung, or Microsoft -- and not likely to be, given its niche size. But it may be that the only realistic owner of BlackBerry at this point is a government agency.

BlackBerry has not given up, of course, nor should it. This week, BlackBerry has announced the BlackBerry Z30, a bigger-screen version of the Z10 that will ship later this fall -- if carriers choose to sell it, that is. The initial rollout is in the Middle East and the United Kingdom, markets that are more BlackBerry-oriented than the United States, which despite its preponderance of financial services and defense agencies has abandoned the BlackBerry quickly. In the United States, Verizon has committed to sell the Z30, though the price and date are TBD. Likewise, availability in much or the world is "later this year," which may mean "not really" in many markets.

BlackBerry is also poised to release iOS and Android apps for its popular BlackBerry Messaging (BBM) service this weekend. It's unclear how BlackBerry will make money from this service, but cross-platform BBM could help overcome the big limitations in iOS's iMessage (which works only on Apple devices) and in Android (which is fractured beyond belief and a mess to use). Golvin says he expects BlackBerry to sell secure messaging services to companies, as well as secure voice, video, and application-sharing services, with the hope that running on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry will create a critical mass of users that will let BlackBerry profitably leverage its network operations center. But Golvin doubts the strategy will work, given the small current BBM base relative to all mobile users and the availability of competing services.

It's too soon to say BlackBerry is terminal, even though that increasingly looks to be the case. I suspect, but hope I'm wrong, that the BlackBerry Z30 is the last BlackBerry.

This article, "The new BlackBerry Z30 may be the last BlackBerry," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Galen Gruman's Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. Follow Galen's mobile musings on Twitter at MobileGalen. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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