BlackBerry to launch Porsche-designed luxury phone

BlackBerry, which is having difficulty selling its new Z10 phones, has turned to Porsche to create a new customized luxury phone.

Unlike its Z10, which sells for a little over $600 with no contract and just under $200 with a contract, the Porsche Design P'9982 will sell for $2,400.

It seems a counterintuitive move for a company in the midst of a restructuring that it will see its product line contract. A BlackBerry spokeswoman called it a "niche product."

Porsche Design, which has collaborated with BlackBerry on a smartphone for a second time, says the P'9982 is made of stainless steel with an Italian leather back door. An exclusive 500 models will have crocodile leather cases.

It has a customized version of the BlackBerry 10.2 operating system, with an onscreen keyboard that adapts to how you type and a hub system to manage conversations and content.

The phone is being launched Thursday at Harrods in London. It won't be available in Canada until January.

BlackBerry wrote off $995 million in the third quarter on the Z10, with a new operating system launched in February that failed to find a market.

The company had sought a buyer, but gave up on that idea in October, when it accepted a $1-billion funding offer led by Fairfax Holdings.

Interim CEO John Chen has taken the reins at the troubled smartphone company, which has laid off thousands of workers in the last year.

However, BlackBerry has signalled its intention to go after the enterprise market, where an exclusive handset may be sellable.

Investors were not keen on the announcement, sending BlackBerry stock down to $6.02 on Wednesday. 

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