Mid-Range BlackBerry Q5 Hopes To Capture Youthful Audience
QWERTY-based BlackBerry Q5 is down with the kids
BlackBerry has unveiled the mid-range QWERTY-based BlackBerry Q5 at the BlackBerry Live event in Orlando, making it the third device to run the BlackBerry 10 operating system.
The Q5 boasts a physical keyboard and a 3.1-inch screen, claiming to offer “the best of both worlds” and will launch in selected markets, including Europe, this July.
BlackBerry is targeting a “youthful” audience, among whom BlackBerrys have been popular despite their intended use as business tools. As part of efforts to recapture this market, the BlackBerry Q5 is expected to have a lower price point than the two other BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the Z10 and Q10.
BlackBerry Q5 launch
“BlackBerry is excited to bring a new BlackBerry QWERTY smartphone, the BlackBerry Q5, to our customers in selected markets around world,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. “The BlackBerry Q5 gives you the best of everything with its cutting-edge BlackBerry 10 functionality and a physical QWERTY keyboard. It is for youthful fans that are passionate, confident and bold, and it makes it easy for them to have fun, create, share and stay connected.”
The Q10 will boast many of the features of BlackBerry 10, including the BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Messenger and will have access to the 100,000 applications in BlackBerry World.
The presence of QWERTY keys would appear to be a show of faith in the physical keyboard, which has long been a trademark of the BlackBerry platform. Both BlackBerry 10 devices have been well received by critics, with the Z10’s touchscreen keyboard winning many fans, but the Q10 is believed to be selling well.
Expanding BlackBerry 10
Heins has previously stated that the Canadian manufacturer wants to target all price points as part of its efforts to expand the reach of the BlackBerry 10 and it has been suggested that it could release as many as six devices running the platform during 2013.
Analysts have suggested that the Q10 could enjoy success in emerging markets if it is able to compete with the likes of Nokia’s Asha range.
“The Q5 could be a very significant device for the company, as there is a significant opportunity for high-quality low-cost smartphones,” said Adam Leach, principal device and platforms analyst at Ovum. “Emerging markets accounted for roughly 17 percent of the nearly 450 million smartphone shipments globally in 2011 and Ovum projects that emerging markets will account for nearly 40 percent of the 1.7 billion smartphone devices shipped globally in 2017.
“Blackberry is clearly aiming to replicate the success of the Blackberry Curve in emerging markets; doing so will help the company establish the Blackberry 10 platform in the market.
“The crucial aspect of the Q5 launch will be its price and if Blackberry can address the sub-$100 smartphone opportunity.”
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