BlackBerry has announced that its new Q10 smartphone — the one with a physical keypad — will make its global debut in Canada on May 1.
In a blog posting on the company's website, BlackBerry said all three of Canada's big wireless carriers — Bell Mobility, Rogers Wireless and Telus — will have the handset in their stores and kiosks in eight days, with prices starting at $199 with a three-year contract.
Telus and Bell have said they will sell the phone without a contract for $700. Rogers will sell the phone for $649.99 without a contract, and will be the only Canadian carrier that offers the BlackBerry Q10 in a white version, as well as the more common black model.
The launch date is in line with analysts' expectations.
BlackBerry said the Q10 would also be available through Virgin Mobile Canada, Fido, Koodo Mobile, Sasktel, and at The Source, Best Buy and Future Shop. It said further details on those rollouts were still to come.
Availability dates for the Q10 in the U.S. and other countries are still to be announced. That's similar to the staggered rollout for BlackBerry's Z10 model, which launched first in Canada and several other countries on Jan. 30. The Z10 wasn't available in the U.S. until March 22.
In March, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the Q10 wouldn't be available in the U.S. for two or three months.
The decision to stagger the release of the touchscreen and keypad versions prompted some criticism from analysts.
The new Q10 model, which has both a keypad and a touchscreen, is considered especially crucial for BlackBerry's turnaround hopes as many BlackBerry users prefer a physical keypad over the touchscreen found on the iPhone and many Android devices.