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BlackBerry Rolls Out Red Carpet For Q10

BlackBerry Q10, the second BlackBerry 10 smartphone, will launch in Canada April 30; U.S. date TBD.
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BlackBerry announced Tuesday that the BlackBerry Q10 smartphone will go on sale in its home market of Canada on April 30. The Q10 follows the Z10 as the second smartphone to run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. Both smartphones were announced in January.

The Q10 shares most of its innards and features with the Z10. The major difference between the two is the Q10's physical QWERTY keyboard for typing. It is what many might call a "real BlackBerry."

The Q10 is powered by a dual-core 1.5-GHz processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of built-in storage. It includes an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. The camera application includes a new feature called TimeShift, which lets users select from a range of photos to get the best one (i.e., the one in which Aunt Tilly isn't blinking). The Q10 also includes a user-facing 2-megapixel camera that can record 720p HD video. The Q10 supports NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS radios for connectivity.

Where the Z10 has a generous 4.2-inch HD display, the Q10's touchscreen is smaller to accommodate its physical QWERTY keyboard. It measures 3.1 inches diagonally and has 720 pixels by 720 pixels. The keyboard is similar in design to that of the older BlackBerry Bold smartphone. The keys have a nice shape to them, making it easy to type emails and messages. Having the keyboard available also means seasoned users of BlackBerrys will have access to all their favorite keyboard shortcuts.

[ How well is BlackBerry catching on with developers? See BlackBerry Says 80% Of BB10 Apps Are Native. ]

The BlackBerry 10 operating system includes the BlackBerry Hub for messaging, BlackBerry Balance for work/life balance and sandboxing, a new HTML5 browser, and BlackBerry Protect for helping locate lost or stolen smartphones. BlackBerry Messenger for BB10 includes the same IM features as before, but is now able to conduct free two-way video chats and VoIP-based phone calls. The app can also be used to share screens between two BB10 devices.

Canadians interested in the Q10 have a number of outlets through which to purchase the smartphone. It is being offered by Rogers and Telus, and can be preordered at either. The Q10 can also be preordered from Best Buy Canada. Prices vary.

BlackBerry has not yet announced U.S. launch details for the Q10. AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless all have committed to offering the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry, but none has said when it will arrive. The Z10 hit U.S. carrier shelves last month for $99. It is probably safe to assume the Q10 will be priced about the same once it is available in the U.S.