Rumor Mill: BlackBerry A10 to pack Qualcomm processor, Verizon support

According to a forum posting on the blog CrackBerry, BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) forthcoming A10 flagship smartphone will sport a 5-inch 720p display, dual-core 1.7 GHz Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera and 2-megapxiel front-facing camera, NFC and a 2,800 mAh battery. Interestingly, the leaked details also show that the device will come in a version that is three millimeters thicker for Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ).

A BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment.

A June CNET report, citing unnamed sources, said Sprint (NYSE:S) will be one of the carriers launching the all-touchscreen device, but that Sprint will not have an exclusive deal for the phone. The A10 will reportedly sit at the top of BlackBerry's smartphone portfolio, pushing the already-launched Z10 and Q10 to the middle tier and the recently announced Q5, which is aimed at the emerging markets, to the low tier.

During BlackBerry's annual investor conference earlier this month, shareholders questioned CEO Thorsten Heins about the company's troubles in the U.S. market. One investor even called the U.S. launch of BlackBerry 10 "a disaster."

Heins disagreed with that investor's characterization but admitted that the U.S. market is very competitive. Heins argued that BlackBerry is still in the early stages of recovery. 

However, in late June BlackBerry reported a surprise loss for its first fiscal quarter, and though it reported an increase in smartphone sales compared with its fiscal fourth quarter, sales of new BlackBerry 10 devices were still struggling to gain traction. In a worrying sign for the company, BlackBerry said its subscriber base fell by 4 million in the quarter, from 76 million down to 72 million.

Although BlackBerry has generally focused on its software offerings, analysts have argued the company needs to bolster its hardware game in order to compete effectively against companies selling Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android devices and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. BlackBerry phones with high-end specifications could generate excitement among consumers and enthusiasm among app developers.

Nonetheless, analysts agree that, regardless of what hardware the A10 packs, BlackBerry will have its hands full. Indeed, Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek recently wrote that BlackBerry has cut in half its production of its Z10 and Q10 smartphones from two million units per month to one million.

For more:
- see this CrackBerry page
- see this CrackBerry article
- see this Barron's article
- see this Engadget article
- see this GigaOM article

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