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BlackBerry adds low-cost smartphone to its device lineup

May 14, 2013 at 7:17 PM

ORLANDO, Fla., May 14 (UPI) -- Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry says its new low-cost Q5 unit is intended for emerging markets where smartphone use hasn't yet reached a saturation point.

"I know this is going be a big hit," Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said as he revealed the Q5 and its BlackBerry-classic QWERTY keyboard and 3.1-inch touchscreen at the BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando, Fla.

Available in multiple colors, the Q5 will go on sale in July in "selected markets" in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, CNN Money reported Tuesday.

The plastic-clad Q5 will run the Canadian company's BlackBerry 10 operating system.

While the Q5 won't be coming to the United States, it's seen as critical to BlackBerry's ongoing success, because the company's top markets are in lower-income countries where a low-cost BlackBerry 10 device could garner much-needed sales for the company.

Heins made no secret of that fact.

"This is specifically designed and built for selected markets, such as emerging markets; it's a sleek, slim, high-performance device," he said.

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