There are plenty of people out there that don’t like typing on a touchscreen, and Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry seems keen on impressing those customers, with the introduction of a handset designed for youths, button mashers, and anyone else who hates pressing letters on a screen.
Shown off this week at BlackBerry Live in Orlando, Floria, BlackBerry’s president Thorsten Heins took to the stage to announce the compact new handset that not only brings the latest generation of BlackBerry’s operating system, but will feature a tactile QWERTY keypad alongside a 3.1 inch touchscreen.
“The BlackBerry Q5 gives you the best of everything with its cutting-edge BlackBerry 10 functionality and a physical QWERTY keyboard,” said Heins.
“It is for youthful fans that are passionate, confident and bold, and it makes it easy for them to have fun, create, share and stay connected.”
The third handset announced this year to feature the redeveloped version of BlackBerry OS, now called “BlackBerry 10,” the Q5 already looks like a slightly cut down version of the second handset BlackBerry announced, the Q10.
Specs that point out the differences haven’t yet been shown, but with a halved model number, we suspect the compromises come from a different screen technology, build materials, and possibly an omission of 4G, though this is all speculation.
Like the Q10, however, the Q5 lacks an Australian release date, with worldwide availability outside America expected from July.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry also took the time to announce that its BlackBerry Messenger service known to many as “BBM” would finally be moving beyond the walls of BlackBerry handsets and over to the worlds of iOS and Android.
“For BlackBerry, messaging and collaboration are inseparable from the mobile experience, and the time is definitely right for BBM to become a multi-platform mobile service,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President of Software Product Management at BlackBerry.
The update to BBM and push beyond BlackBerry’s handset universe means that smartphone owners from the two most popular mobile operating systems – Apple iOS and Google Android – will be able to talk to their friends and co-workers on BlackBerry handsets without sending an SMS.
A release date beyond summer in America (winter for Australia), but BlackBerry did say that “if approved by Apple and Google, the BBM app will be available as a free download,” with support planned for iOS 6 and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich.”