Feature Video: Expected for release in April, the BlackBerry Q10 will feature key shortcuts and predictive typing.

Thumbs on with BlackBerry Q10 keyboard

BlackBerry is debuting its new operating system with the Z10 going on sale in Canada tomorrow, but the Q10 is expected to follow shortly this Spring.

Many BlackBerry users long for a modern smartphone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Apple has never released such a device, and most Android manufacturers also focus on large touch screen phones instead of a set of keys. So the niche of users who prefer tactile feedback on their thumbs have been stuck on BlackBerry Bold devices, or perhaps an Android device with a slider keyboard.

A BlackBerry spokesperson demonstrates the BlackBerry Q10, expected for release in April.

The Q10 sports very similar specs to the Z10 smartphone. Its hardware is identical – a 1.5 Ghz dual-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera – and the phone casing itself is the same glass-weave material used on the Z10. The styling is very similar, but the design differs around the screen size to accomodate that keyboard. It’s a 3.1-inch keybaord with a 720 by 720 square resolution with 330 pixels per inch.

The keyboard design will be familiar to BlackBerry Bold users. It has the frets separating the rows of keys, and bumps to identify the individual keys. With the keyboard comes the return of many short-cut options that BlackBerry power users appreciated in the past. BlackBerry 10 will allow you to bind certain keys to activate speed dial numbers, and use short cuts like pressing “T” to fly to the top of your messages list.

Also noteworthy is the absence of any trackball or trackpad, calling on users to rely completely on the touch screen to navigate the device. BlackBerry 10’s predicitve text is still included on the Q10, with the suggested words appearing just above the keyboard as you type.

BlackBerry isn’t specifying exactly when the Q10 will be available in different geographies yet, but are saying to expect the global rollout to take place in April.

Brian JacksonBrian Jackson is the Editor at ITBusiness.ca. E-mail him at bjackson@itbusiness.ca, follow him on Twitter, connect on , read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.
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