At its annual BlackBerry Live event in Orlando, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins made some key announcements.
First up, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, announced a new device, the BlackBerry Q5. The Q5 is a full QWERTY device, similar to the Q10, and will be aimed at emerging markets like the Middle East, India and Africa. Heins said the company saw an opportunity to infiltrate markets where many customers don’t have desktop or notebook computers, but still rely on capable smartphone devices.
Heins said the Q5 will be available in red, black, white and pink and is expected to launch in July in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The device features both a 3.1-inch touchscreen and the QWERTY keyboard and of course, will run the BB10 operating system. The company has not released any pricing information for the device.
When it comes to BlackBerry’s existing devices, Heins announced that BB 10.1 will begin rolling out to BlackBerry Z10 users today. The roll-out is the first major update to the BlackBerry 10 operating system and includes a few new features. Version 10.1 allows users to create custom ringtones, vibrations and LED flashes for different contacts and create custom notifications for different email accounts.
The update also includes improved camera software with better red eye reduction and the addition of HDR support. BlackBerry Hub also received a slight overhaul and will now be able to send PIN messages and offer contact suggestions. 10.1 will be available to international carried by the end of the week and on U.S. carriers by the end of May.
Heins had one additional quick announcement to throw in regarding the company’s app store, BlackBerry World. According to the CEO, BlackBerry World now has over 120,000 apps, but it should be noted there are still some major holdouts such as Instagram, Netflix and Spotify.