BlackBerry Rio ‘Z20’ First Look

Yesterday, the BlackBerry Rio “Z20” full spec sheet, which has shown it is actually a mid-range smartphone, was revealed. Now, we exclusively have your first look at the Rio’s ornamental design. BlackBerry is...

Yesterday, the BlackBerry Rio “Z20” full spec sheet, which has shown it is actually a mid-range smartphone, was revealed. Now, we exclusively have your first look at the Rio’s ornamental design.

BlackBerry is touting the Rio as suitable for, “Power Pros who want to be considered by others as being current with technology, yet cost is a major consideration in their purchase decision.”

“I’m just getting started, but I’m ambitious and out to win and need a phone that will give me the competitive edge,” is apparently how BlackBerry sees the target audience for the Rio.

As we revealed with the Rio specs, the device is an evolution of the “Manitoba” Z3 LTE (which was canceled) and is why the Rio looks nearly identical. We will likely see the Rio targeted to customers in EMEA, LATAM, and perhaps parts of APAC.

The Rio may sadly not get pushed to carriers in North America. However, we’re hoping BlackBerry will make it available for purchase on ShopBlackBerry for limited availability to those customers in America and Canada. What is going to be the most important consideration for the Rio is its price-point.

The BlackBerry Z30 had apparently sold quite well during the Black Friday sale sticker price of $225 USD. If BlackBerry can sustainably offer the Rio around the same price target of sub $300, the device might be able to attract current and/or new users.

The Rio is expected to release by February 2015. Additionally, the Rio will be available in a white iteration:


As a recap, the Rio will sport a 5” 1280 x 720 display, 8 MP RF camera, 2MP FF camera, 2800 mAh Battery (Same size as competition flagships, Targeting 19 hours of battery life), and a Dual core 1.5 GHz processor.

There are some noticeable design differences between the Rio and the Z3. The Rio has an elongated glass panel for the camera. The speaker port is also larger on the Rio than on the Z3. Otherwise, the ornamental design of both devices is quite familiar.

The Rio is BlackBerry’s first smartphone planned for release in 2015. The BlackBerry portfolio will consist of the Porsche Design P’9983, Passport, Classic, and Rio through the first half of 2015. Meaning, there are no other new devices besides the Rio scheduled for launch in Q1 or Q2 of 2015.

Founder of for the latest in mobile and tech news, leaks, reviews, videos, and much more.
  • dnivoG

    These photos are really old, because the date is July 21, which is close to the quarter report and also the apps like box and Evernote are old….even BlackBerry assistant in the photo is old…which means BlackBerry already planned the z3 lte as the Z20….. confusing!

    • I honestly wouldn’t read into that too much.

  • Dean

    This phone looks like a cheap Chinese knock off. Average specs are ok but the design is seriously bad.

    • Dean

      hope this is not the final design..

      • Well, it is being made in China by Foxconn lol. I’m sure it will look much better in real life rather than renders.

        • Dean

          They should do a z10 with a update design and spec wise, rather than this. The z10 is still good looking after all this time.

  • Slash82

    Thanks Lucas for sharing!

    But no, no, no…
    I don’t like it! 🙁
    Those sharp edges make it look too clunky.

  • Uday

    Give better battery for z10

    • Slash82

      Yeah! That would be awesome!
      Z10 with a bigger battery and slightly better specs!

      One of the most beautiful devices ever made!

      • nt300

        Can’t agree more. The Z10, especially in white is one of the best looking Smart Phones ever released to date. BBRY should seriously consider releasing a Z10 refresh, with better battery and specs. This so called Z20 is not a Z20, if anything it should be called a Z5 due to it having lower specs than the Z10.

        A quick way to rectify BBRY’s image problem is a Z10 & Z30 refresh. A Z20 and Z50. Both the Z30 and Z10 need to be replaced with higher specs. Because people will compare the specs with Android and decide on specs alone.

  • Johnny66

    A Z10 is a more attractive device than this one. I’m not hurt if this doesn’t make it to the North American market. I’ll have to decide whether I should pick up yet another battery for my Z10 or hope that another Z30 sale comes up soon. By the way, what is wrong with your app? It gives me an error whenever I try to post. I have to go to the browser to post anything.

  • Mindmeld

    Yeah, not really sold on the design. I guess if it’s made available online unlocked, it may sell a few but this is really destined for the pay-as-you-go bin. This is certainly not an upgrade of Z10. No matter how badly it sold, Z10 was a beautifully crafted price of hardware.

    • Slash82

      I’m absolutely with you!
      I don’t think that the bad selling numbers of the Z10 had anything to do with it’s hardware!
      Still almost 2 years after it’s launch it’s still head on head with most ones on the market right now!

      I think it was more a matter of that time – no one really thought that Blackberry would succeed, so no one was willing to spend money on that device or even switching from Android / iOS to OS10.
      Now the times have changed – people more and more are going to trust Blackberry again and will take a look at OS10.

      It was only launched at the wrong time.

      • nt300

        THOR already explained the issues with the Z10 sales. Carriers were in bed with Apple. They signed multi-year Apple RipOff contracts. THOR even complained to the RTCT about this.

        But the biggest mistake was when they placed the For Sale Sign on the company. That alone destroyed there image, not to mention all the BS articles and speculation/rumours by the bashers.

        • PaulG

          I agree with all the positive comments about Z10. The Z10 ‘look’ should be retained in future upgrades.

        • The other issue with the Z10 was simply its spec’s were not in line with 2013. They were 2012 specs and lower. But that said, people didn’t realize how superior and efficient BB10 was when 1st launched. BB10 does not require super high end specs to outperform the competition with there high end specs. That is how efficient BB10 is.
          But consumers don’t understand mobile OS’s, there 1st decision into buying a smart phone is SPECS. Everything else comes 2nd. In order for BBRY to get away with lower spec’ed devices, such as Apple’s been doing for ages is they need to re-built there reputation first and foremost. Then, only then can they release under specs hardware for a premium.

          That said, Android Manufacturers pulls the wool over people, because higher specs running Android does not mean better performance. Android is still not efficient nor will it be in the foreseeable future.

          • Lance

            The Z10 at 10.0 was a hot mess and 10.1 was not optimized. 10.2.1 was much better and they should have waited till the IS was to that level to launch. Even now with 10.2.1 the device runs hot under normal loads and the hardware package as a whole is inefficient IMHO. The Z30 on the other hand is a very efficient device, and I too think should have been the first all touch BlackBerry released in NA. Z10 didn’t do anything to help BlackBerry’s reputation and probably damaged it more with the early reviews that were running that horrible 10.0 beta OS. They learned nothing from the PlayBook launch and repeated the mistakes in the Z10 launch.

            • Simonbland

              Z10 runs hot??? First time ever heard that and I got one when they came out, my son and my friends have one now!! And what’s inefficient about hardware? Z10 leaves i-phone fives still on the lock screen!

  • Aayush Katyal

    It’s the BlackBerry that brings a Smile on My Face Everytime there is Something New they Launch and with John Chen coming…I think it’s amongst the Best things Happening to BlackBerry and to the World.
    I Own a Q10 and I am Super Duper Happy with. It…I bought it 2 Years back in June.
    And till then I am Mad Over Heels with Every New Launch or Even a Software Update. 🙂
    And Now after 2 Years of My Q10 Love…I want an Accompanying Partner with My Q10 and I had My Eyes on the Z3 Bcoz of the Larger Screen and Battery Life until the “RIO” came in…LOL…
    I Really wish that RIO comes in INDIA soon as possible as Its Gonna be An Iceing Over the Cake in June as its MY BDAY too…Haha…
    So Lucas Pls. Do Forward My request to John Chen…
    And there is Only One Thing that I wish to have Better in RIO besides the Provided. Specifications is “Its LED”…Yes You Heard it’s Right “Its LED”…
    I Wish that John Chen Keeps in Mind while Telling Fox coon

  • Aayush Katyal

    Sorry!!! The Msg. Got posted without ME Completing it…
    Yes John Chen should talk To Foxconn to Give the RIO a Better LED than Z3…as its Very Light and Not that Big.
    I Wish the RIO having LED Similar to Other BB10 Devices…Big and Bright…

    I Hope I Am Heard as Really am Gonna Buy a New 5 Inches New BlackBerry…Yo!!! BlackBerry and John Chen…

    Hoping for It in India
    Aayush Katyal…

  • Ukemochi

    I remember when I was young and whenever I walked into a carrier store there were a lot of phones, but the reps always said “and then you have the BlackBerry over there…and they were not cheap. When did cheap become the new thing? Apple doesn’t do it and they ask for way more than what it’s worth. But you knew if you paid the premium for the BlackBerry it was well worth the hype.

  • nt300

    We need a Z50 to replace the Z30 and a Z20 to replace the Z10 in Europe and in North America.
    Plain and Simple. I know many people with Z10’s that were purchased 2 years ago that will be looking for a respectful upgrade with the same screen size. What they are looking for is a better battery and better specs, especially the camera.
    The Z30 needs to be 1080p with a much higher PPI.

    • lboogie_1971

      I agree with everything said here.

      • I too agree with everything he said.
        Give me a Z50 high end please.

  • Wbennett

    The Z30 is a winner. An upgraded version of Z30 would be the way to go.

  • Ehtesham

    Well I agree that Z10 still is a better deal….much better specification…awesome look compared to I phone… I am using Z10 I m being irritated day by day….why BlackBerry is not recalling their sold Z10 that they could fix it….or launch refreshed Z10 with better battery and 4G in all models of Z10…..while they should make any exchange type offer for old Z10s….
    While BlackBerry will have no any device complains if all Z10 will be called back by exchange offer or any other way

    • A direct Z10 exchange? That will never happen and should not happen. There’s nothing wrong with the Z10’s hardware specs. The battery could have been better, but to resolve that issue you need to tweak the settings so apps don’t continually try and connect in the background looking for updates, which then kills the battery.

      What would be nice is if BBRY came out with a Z10 revision, better specs and battery. That is something that is a must. I still have a few friends on the iPhone 3 and 4, and they are waiting for a BB10 Z10 refresh. The Z10 is an amazing device they tell me, but the specs need to be better.

  • Iammafioso

    I love Blackberry and all that but we can do better, especially with hardware in 2015

  • Wbennett

    Frankly this Rio looks like a loser.

  • Now I am not entirely happy with how this device looks.
    But I have to say, BlackBerry and Foxconn have done extensive consumer research, and I am sure they understand what may sell very well.
    Personally though, we need a proper Z10 and Z30 replacement. We also need a Q10 replacement too. All three devices should have been “Re-Freshed” by now. This is the only way to compete in the Enterprise and Consumer markets.
    The consumer market is all about perception. What happens in the consumer market also influences the Enterprise.

    Mr. John Chen, I hope you are reading the comments by the loyal BlackBerry faithful, and by those that are looking for a BB10 device upgrade coming off none BBRY devices.

  • Cyborg

    It’s look like z3 🙂 but it’s nice

  • grndzro

    Jesus christ….another 720P display.
    1080P or go home. This will fizzle just like the Z10. Perhaps even worse.

  • Lance

    Glad I bought a Z30 at the November special because this is just a FrankenZ. Z10 processor, Z3 screen and hideous chassis. Z30 specs should be the minimum for any new BB10 device as the MSM9860 is horribly taxed, runs hot and chews through power running everything from my experience and the Z30 handles the same usage with ease without turning the device into a handwarmer.

    • lboogie_1971

      Lol at handwarmer.

  • leejayh

    Hopefully they will converge on the Passport and Classic design language with the stainless steel sides, the new separated volume buttons, and please just add 20 bucks to the CPU and get us the Passport cpu.

  • DeLeurg

    Z3, Classic and this, I don’t think it was designed in the West. That is empty, without materialistic dream, only “materialistic” .

  • Simonbland

    Looks like an old Sony erriccson

  • Jrgraymonds

    It looks pretty nice

  • I like the design and I like the spects because they’re like almost all you might need, just hoping it to be cheap