May 14, 2013 11:33 am

Blackberry announces new Q5 smartphone for selected markets

In this May 1, 2012 photo, Research In Motion's Thorsten Heins delivers the keynote speech during the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Reinhold Matay

TORONTO – BlackBerry announced its third smartphone of the year at the Canadian smartphone maker’s annual tech conference in Orlando, Florida.

The BlackBerry Q5 will run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. It features a QWERTY keyboard and comes in a variety of colours.

“BlackBerry is excited to bring a new BlackBerry QWERTY smartphone, the BlackBerry Q5, to our customers in selected markets around world,” said Heins in a press release.

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“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 phone will be available in selected markets only, including Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The phone is not available in Canada.

According to a press release from the Waterloo, Ont.-based company the phone will be available beginning in July.

Heins also announced that the company’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service will become available to iOS and Android devices.

“It’s a statement of confidence,” he told the audience in Orlando, Fla.

The move is a gamble for the company which has many loyal users who have stuck with their BlackBerry devices just to keep access to BBM.

BlackBerry launched the Z10 touchscreen and Q10 keyboard versions of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones in January.

Heins has said he wants Blackberry to create a portfolio of smartphones that expands beyond the higher-priced models into both a mid-priced and entry-level version of the device.

The company’s stock slipped 17 cents to C$15.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange shortly after the Q5 announcement.

During his keynote address Heins also noted that BlackBerry’s app selection had increased to 120,000 apps, up from 70,000 in January.

On Tuesday night, the company will hold a party at Universal Studios. This year Alicia Keys will perform, as well as R&B singer Miguel and Alabama Shakes.

The concert is scheduled to be streamed online for free on the BlackBerry website.

- With files from the Canadian Press

© Shaw Media, 2013

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