BlackBerry Q10 may hit market in April

CEO Thorsten Heins says the release date for the smartphone with keyboard will depend on testing.

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BlackBerry's highly anticipated smartphone with keyboard may hit the market in April, the company's chief executive said.

Thorsten Heins, speaking during a Q&A with reporters following the company's BlackBerry launch today in New York, said the timing for the Q10 depends on testing. Either way, it appears the device will hit the market after the Z10 full touchscreen smartphone.

BlackBerry, which today rebranded itself from its former Research In Motion name, launched a completely redesigned operating system and hardware that it hopes will convince users to stick with its platform. The Canadian company's fall from the top of the smartphone market has been swift as Apple's iOS and Google's Android software become more popular with consumers.

BlackBerry discussed availability of the Z10 device during its event today in New York, but it provided few details about the Q10. It's likely the device that business users have been anticipating the most. Any long delays for the keyboard device could hurt BlackBerry's positioning and its efforts to turn around its business.

The BlackBerry Z10 will hit several markets by early February, but U.S. buyers likely can't get the phone until March. It will retail at all four major U.S. carriers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile -- and will cost about $200 with a contract. Unsubsidized, the phone will retail for $599, BlackBerry said.

U.K. buyers will be able to purchase the Z10 tomorrow, and it will be available in Canada on February 5.

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