BlackBerry introduces phone for emerging markets

MarketWatchMay 14, 2013 

— BlackBerry Inc. unveiled a new smartphone called the Q5 for emerging markets on Tuesday, and also said it is expanding its popular messaging service to rival smartphone platforms like the iPhone and Android.

The announcements were made at the company’s annual BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando, Fla.

BlackBerry also used the occasion to announce an update to its new operating system.

On stage at the conference, CEO Thorsten Heins introduced the Q5 as the third handset built for the company’s new BlackBerry 10 platform. The device features a physical QWERTY keyboard and has been designed to sell at a lower price for emerging markets.

Heins said the device will launch with carriers beginning in July, but no price was announced at the event. It will be available in selected markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. The BlackBerry Q5 comes in four different colors: red, white, black and pink.

The company is also expanding its BlackBerry Messenger service, known as BBM, to the iOS and Android platforms as a free application. Heins touted the strength of BlackBerry 10 and said the recently launched operating system “is so strong that we are confident that BBM can become an independent messaging solution.”

The BBM application will be available for free to iPhone users running on iOS 6 and Android users on the 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, version and higher beginning this summer.

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