BlackBerry has announced that its long-awaited keyboard phone running BlackBerry 10 software, the Q10, will launch on May 1 in Canada.
Canadian carriers Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility and Telus will all offer the Q10. As is the norm in Canada, customers will need to sign a three-year contract to buy the phone for the subsidized price of $199. Customers will also be able to buy the phone from several retailers, including Future Shop and Walmart Canada.
The first country to get the Q10, however, will be the U.K. BlackBerry hasn’t specified an exact date, only that it will be available sometime in April. The U.S. launch is equally unspecific, only that it would come by the end of May. BlackBerry says the Q10 will be priced so U.S. carriers will be able to charge $249 with a two-year contract.
SEE ALSO: BlackBerry Z10 Could Reveal When You’re Watching Porn
The Q10 is the second handset from the company to run BlackBerry 10, the first being the Z10, a touchscreen device that launched in early February. The Q10 runs the same operating system but includes a physical QWERTY keyboard — the form factor most closely associated with BlackBerry.
In late March BlackBerry said it had shipped 1 million BlackBerry Z10 phones worldwide, at the same time posting increased revenues.
Are you excited for the BlackBerry Q10? Let us know in the comments.
Update: Shortly after publication, BlackBerry contacted us with additional information about U.S. and U.K. availability. Those details have been added.
The Z10 is the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone. It doesn’t work like most other smartphones (notice there’s no home button), so it has a fairly steep learning curve for anyone used to iOS or Android. However, it’s also a powerful organizer and has much friendlier feel than previous BlackBerry phones. RIM expects the Z10 to be available on all four of the major U.S. carriers for $199 (with contract).
The back of the Z10 is what rim calls “soft touch,” a slightly rubberized material that bestows a firm grip. It’s also removable, letting the user swap out a new SIM, a microSD card or a spare battery.
Right Side: Volume/Mute Buttons
The volume buttons have slight indentations so you can find them by touch alone, and the middle button controls play/pause or mute (depending on the app).
The left side has ports for microUSB and microHDMI for connecting to an external display.
Here’s the power/sleep button and the headphone jack, as well as a small microphone port.
The bottom has a slot to ease taking off the back.
In lieu of a home button, you can activate the lock screen just by sliding your finger up from the bottom of the screen. The execution is slick.
Like most smartphones today, the Z10 shows apps as an array of icons. When you swipe between screens, the animation has them fade out and overlap each other slightly.
You swipe app to minimize any apps running, and they appear here. They’re still running (or paused when appropriate — say, a game) you can resume where you left off anytime. Up to eight apps can run in minimized state at any given time.
BlackBerry 10’s Hub is where all your email, text messages, BBM messages and social-network notifications reside. You can change the view to display just one account, or a mix. Swiping down from the top shows your coming calendar appointments.
Swiping in from the left of the Hub shows your account list. Tap one to show just notifications from that account.
On virtually any screen on the Z10, you can swipe up and hold to see your notifications on the left.
Sweep right to “peek” at the Hub. The screen tracks your finger movements precisely.
The BlackBerry onscreen keyboard will predict what the next word you want to type might be, giving you several options over various keys. To select one, swipe up from the key. It takes getting used to.
Time Shifting Camera
The Z10’s camera has a Time Shift mode, which lets you turn back the clock on any particular person’s facial expression by a second or two, letting you perfect that shot where someone blinked.
RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger has gotten an upgrade for BB10.
BBM Video Chat
You can now do video chats with BBM, similar to Apple’s FaceTime or Skype. It works best on Wi-Fi or LTE.
A useful tool that goes with BBM video chats is Screen Share. Just tap the icon and you’ll share what you’re looking at with your chat partner. The screen will appear a little fuzzy, though.
BlackBerry Balance lets will partition your Z10 for both work and personal use. It’s something your company would do if you decided to use the Z10 as a work phone, and RIM says’ it’s physically impossible for the two sides to share data (such as photos). However, the device still has one phone number, and your notifications are united.
The BB10 webkit browser is pretty bare-bones, but it makes the nice choice of putting the URL bar at the bottom of the screen — handy for thumbs.