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.