BlackBerry’s smartphone roadmap was quite simple this year. First it launched the Z3 which is a mid-range smartphone targeted towards emerging markets and very competitively priced, the smartphone did well. Then came the BlackBerry Passport with its unique square design and touch-enabled keyboard, and it too did well. Last week the Classic was released and its mainly for the BB loyalists that love the trackpad and function key belt. What’s in store for next year? The “Rio” is one device that we’ve heard about multiple times.

From the looks of things this new smartphone from BlackBerry, codenamed “Rio,” is shaping up to be the Z3’s successor. Even the renders that have been leaked online show the similarities in design.

A few days back we covered the purported specifications of this smartphone. It’s believed to come with a 5-inch 1,280×720 pixel resolution display, a MSM8960 dual-core 1.5GHz processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB onboard memory expandable via microSD, 8 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front camera, 4G LTE, dual-microphone and a 2,800mAh battery.

Obviously these aren’t the sort of specifications that you would expect from a high-end flagship, and the Rio doesn’t appear to be taking on those devices anyway. Rumor has it that the smartphone will cost below $300. The Z3 was released in emerging markets though it was said at one point that it might come to North America.

The Rio might come to this part of the world, and if such a competitive price point is maintained, it will be a good alternative for those customers looking for a decent smartphone that’s not powered by a common OS like Android.

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