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BlackBerry Z10 to hit shops straight after BlackBerry 10 launch

The next generation of BlackBerry software will be followed by the BlackBerry Z10 almost immediately, according to reports.

BlackBerry 10 explodes into life tomorrow, and the first phone will reportedly hit shops mere moments later. The next generation of BlackBerry software will be followed by the BlackBerry Z10 from Vodafone almost immediately.

BlackBerry 10 will be unveiled tomorrow, and The Verge reports Vodafone is to start selling the Z10 and its high-definition touchscreen before the day is out.

According to an anonymous Vodafone employee, you'll be able to order the Z10 online ready for it to be posted to you later. If you can't wait to get your hands on the next generation of BlackBerry, the Z10 will be in Vodafone shops on Thursday. Whether they do manage to get it in shops that day or not, it's clear that the networks aren't going to hang about getting the new BB blowers on shelves.

You don't need a special BlackBerry contract for the new phones, and the cheapest two-year monthly deal is £25 for 100MB of data, 100 minutes of chat and unlimited texts -- as well as £230 upfront. In order to bag the phone for free, you need to commit to a hefty £47 per month, which works out at £1,128 over two years.

Pay as you go deals will follow later, as will a white version of the Z10. The touchscreen BlackBerry will be joined by the X10, which sports a traditional Qwerty keyboard as well as a tactile display.

4G-ready steady go 

The Z10 is also set to be Vodafone's first '4G-ready' device. Sticking 'ready' on the end is a marketing wheeze that technology companies use to make you think the thing you're buying is that cool new thing you've vaguely heard about, even if it isn't strictly the case -- remember HD Ready TVs?

So while your new BlackBerry Z10 will have 4G LTE gubbins in it, it won't actually connect to the Web at super-fast speeds until Vodafone launches its own 4G LTE network, in May at the earliest.

EE has already confirmed it will sell BlackBerry 10 devices, and seeing as EE is the first British 4G network, the new phones will be more than just 4G-ready -- they'll actually connect to 4G.

BlackBerry has also announced a wide range of film studios and record labels that will provide movies and music in the BlackBerry World online store for download to your new BlackBerry 10 phone. The big names include 20th Century Fox, Disney, Sony and Warner Music Group.

Keep it CNET for all the news, first impressions and video of BlackBerry 10, the X10 and the Z10. Do you think BB10 will turn things around for RIM? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.