BlackBerry unveiled its latest BlackBerry 10-powered device, the Q5, as well as announcing it will make BlackBerry Messenger available for iOS and Android.
The Q5 is the third device launched for BlackBerry 10 — after the Z10 and Q10, unveiled in January — and is aimed at developing markets. It has a qwerty keyboard and comes in a selection of colours.
Availability is slated for early July in selected markets in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In addition, the company plans to make its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) technology available for iOS6 and Android (Ice Cream Sandwich or higher) in the summer for free.
Users of non-BlackBerry devices will initially gain messaging and groups capability, before voice, screen sharing and video are added later. “We are making the BBM platform more powerful than ever,” Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of the company, said.
A new social engagement platform, BlackBerry Messenger Channels, was also unveiled, allowing users to connect with relevant businesses, brands and groups within the BBM service.
During his keynote at the BlackBerry Live event in Florida, Heins also announced that the first update of the new OS, BlackBerry 10.1, is now being rolled out to Z10 devices. The update adds camera capture, an improved Hub and new keyboard tools.
He touted the progress that the company has made in the past year. BlackBerry reported a profit for its most recent quarter compared to a loss a year earlier, although subscriber and shipment numbers dropped.
“There’s still a lot of work to go, but man we’ve reached solid ground with this company,” Heins said, adding that more than 200 operators have signed deals to sell the Q10 and that BlackBerry 10 has now launched in 14 countries.
“We’re not only still here, we’re firing on all cylinders as a company — we’re taking our innovation and creativity to new levels. We’re definitely still in the race,” he noted.