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BlackBerry Unveils New Q5 Qwerty Device

Tue, 05/14/2013 - 10:27am
Ben Munson

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins today introduced the newest BlackBerry 10 device, the Q5. Specifically designed for emerging markets, the Q5 will launch globally this summer. Heins made the announcement during an opening keynote at BlackBerry’s annual developer conference, which was broadcast online.

The Q5 will be available in selected markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa,  Asia (including the Asia Pacific region), and Latin America, with expected availability beginning in July.

It’s a colorful QWERTY, available in red, black, white and pink. Apart from its 3.1-inch touchscreen, most of the specs have yet to be revealed for the Q5, although it’s fair to imagine it will be dialed back from the Z10 and Q10 in order to hit a price point in line with the emerging market segment it’s geared toward. 

The Q5’s big brother, the Q10, is finally hitting the U.S. in June with the first update, 10.1, to BlackBerry 10 operating system. Heins added that the update will be rolling out to Z10 users in the U.S. via carriers later this month.

“We are the original mobile-first,” Heins said while speaking out BlackBerry’s focus on building BlackBerry 10 for mobile devices only.

Heins also touted the health of the BlackBerry World digital storefront, claiming it now houses 120,000 apps.

In finding a new interface for those all those apps, BlackBerry announced it’s working on incorporating QNX into a car. QNX design lead Mark Rigley rolled on stage in a Bentley that had BB10 video chat embedded into the dashboard display. Rigley fired up a video call and revealed a safety feature that disables video calling while the car is moving.

During the demonstration, Heins continually stressed that BlackBerry sees BB10 as a platform for many different kinds of connected devices. 

Although the Q5 will get most of the attention of the announcements BlackBerry made today, the company seems focused on enterprise, security and working into verticals like the automotive industry.

With that in mind, BlackBerry announced BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.1, designed for cost-effectiveness and easy upgrades, adding that BES10 systems will be upgraded for free.

BlackBerry 10 devices haven’t had much time to reshape the company’s fortunes in the U.S. yet. Still, the latest Comscore study on U.S. smartphone OS market share indicated that BlackBerry is still bleeding out, falling to 5.2 percent at the end of March from 6.4 percent at the end of 2012.

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