Tuesday, May 14, 2013

BlackBerry unveils the budget Q5; Z10 begins getting BB10.1 update

On Tuesday, BlackBerry announced a new budget phone for emerging markets: the BlackBerry Q5. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins made the announcement during the BlackBerry Live conference in Orlando, Fla.

The phone will launch in the summer around the world, Heins said. The Q5 will launch as early as July, BlackBerry said, in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Despite being labeled it a budget phone, there is no word on the all-important pricing yet.

BlackBerry will offer the device in multiple colors, including black, white, red, and (what looks to be hot) pink.

The device looks very similar to the BlackBerry Q10. While the company opted to ship its first BB10 device with a touchscreen only (the Z10), the Q5 and Q10 add BlackBerry's famous keyboard and reduce the size of the screen to a square 3.1-inches, as opposed to the Z10's 4.2-inch diagonal screen.

The Q5 will ship with BlackBerry 10.1, which is already shipping on the Q10, and which began hitting the BlackBerry Z10 on Tuesday.

Z10 owners should take note of the new BlackBerry 10.1 features:
  • BlackBerry Hub: With BlackBerry 10.1, support for PIN to PIN messages for direct communication between BlackBerry smartphones has been added to the BlackBerry Hub. Also included is improved attachment support, making it easier to view emails which have been sent as attachments to other messages.
  • Notifications: With BlackBerry 10.1 users can personalize the notifications for accounts and contacts. Customize ringtones, vibration and the LED light can be set by contact or by account for more personalized notifications.
  • Fine Cursor Control: BlackBerry 10.1 adds speed and precision. Tap once to bring up the cursor. Grab the blue circle and drag it around to place it exactly where you need it. Tap either side of the circle to move left or right by just one character.
  • Camera: BlackBerry 10.1 adds an HDR shooting mode for "beautiful images in tricky lighting conditions." High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode takes multiple pictures at different exposure levels and layers them automatically to produce a single photo that combines the best of the dark and light areas.
  • Additionally: There are many more small, but new improvements across the BlackBerry 10.1 OS. For example, there is now landscape support for the calendar, easier international dialing, improved red eye reduction in the picture editor and more.

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