For the past few years, BlackBerry (formerly known as RIM – Research In Motion) hasn’t been one of the most prominent smartphone manufacturers on the market. The industry’s tendency to “evolve” to full-touchscreen devices didn’t bode very well with the Canadian manufacturer as its first attempts to compete in the full-touch niche haven’t set users alight. But BlackBerry has made a comeback this year, announcing a new operating system (the BB 10 OS) which powers a full-touch smartphone (the BlackBerry Z10), as well as a “conservative” QWERTY handset – the BlackBerry Q10.
While the BlackBerry Z10 has enjoyed a broader release, the Q10 has seen the light of day only in certain regions, and only fairly recently. Not long ago, Canadian analyst Brian Modoff from Deutsche Bank stated that, based on his information, the Q10 sold very well in Canada and in the UK. However, the bigger challenge for the BB Q10 is to make itself noticed in the U.S., where the device has just started to rear its head. Will it succeed?
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The biggest question is whether or not the BlackBerry Q10 has what it takes to compete with the most successful handsets on the market. I don’t think it’s a mystery to anyone that the Samsung Galaxy S4 is a very successful and sought-after device. And HTC has made quite an impact with the One. Can the Q10 deliver?
Technically speaking, it definitely has the potential. To begin with, the Q10 is a rare breed: it features a physical full-QWERTY portrait keyboard, in true BlackBerry fashion. That’s a breath of fresh air for long-time RIM fans. But besides the familiar (to some) form factor, the BlackBerry Q10 is a pretty competitive smartphone as well – spec-wise.
The Q10 features a Super AMOLED 3.1 inch display with a resolution of 720 x 720 (resulting in a pixel density of 328 ppi), it’s powered by a dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz, a PowerVR SGX544 graphics chip and 2 GB of RAM. 16 GB of internal storage are at the user’s disposal, as well as a microSD card slot that can be expanded by up to 64 GB. The back panel accommodates an 8 MP camera which, rather unsurprisingly, is coupled with a 2 MP front-facing camera. The whole package is being kept alive with a 2,100 mAh battery, and the BlackBerry 10 OS takes care of everything else.
In a nutshell, the BlackBerry Q10 is not only an almost exclusive smartphone thanks to its form factor; it’s a powerful flagship as well.
BlackBerry Q10 – Availability in US
Perhaps you’ve been waiting for an opportunity to purchase the Q10 in the States. Regardless of whether the handset has won you over recently or had you at hello, you might still wonder when you’ll be able to purchase the handset, and from which carrier.
Starting with the 5th of June, T-Mobile began retailing the device for $99.99 (down payment) plus $20/month for 24 months.
On June 6th, the BlackBerry Q10 also became available at Verizon (online only). Big Red is currently offering both the white and black versions of the device for $199.99, on a new 2-year agreement. You’ll be able to buy a Q10 from one of Verizon’s retail stores starting with June 10th.
AT&T is also gearing up for the release of BlackBerry’s new device, as the carrier has recently announced that the Q10 pre orders will begin shipping on June 18th. The price has been set at $199.99 on-contract, but unfortunately no retail release date has been unveiled yet.
Lastly, Sprint is the fourth major US carrier expected to offer this particular device on its network, at one point in the future. The carrier has decided against retailing the full-touch Z10 in its stores, in favor of concentrating its efforts on the QWERTY-ed Q10. Or at least, that’s what the carrier has suggested. All we know is that the mobile operator has previously mentioned a “late summer” release for the Q10. This can translate into July or even August.
What do you think about the BlackBerry Q10? Do you plan on purchasing this device? Which carrier would you choose? The comments section is at your disposal.
Vlad Andrici is editor for gforgames.com and writes about technology issues.