BlackBerry Z10, Q10 launch to eager and welcoming crowds worldwide

After months of speculation about its new device and countless problems for RIM, the excitement for today’s announcement was almost palpable. And with the unveiling of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system alongside two brand new devices, things are starting to look up.

At today’s launch events in Toronto, New York and other cities around the world, journalists were eager to get their hands on the new devices and start putting them through their paces. Here’s what you need to know about the much-hyped BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10:

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry Z10 (Getty Images)

  • Touch-screen QWERTY keyboard
  • Dual-Core 1.5GHz processor (Snapdragon S4 Plus)
  • 4.2-inch LCD display with 4-point multi-touch and 1280x768 resolution
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with 5X digital zoom and 1080p HD video
  • 2MP front-facing camera with 3X digital zoom and 720p HD video
  • NFC, microUSB, microHDMI-out, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy and 4G LTE connectivity
  • 16GB Internal Storage with a hot-swappable microSD card slot
  • 2GB RAM
  • Removable 1800mAh battery, with up to 10 hours of talk time on 3G and up to 305 hours of standby time
  • WiFI (802.11 a/b/g/n) and 4G mobile hotspot
  • Accelerometer, Magnetometer, Proximity, Gyroscope, Ambient light sensor
  • 130mm x 65.6 mm x 9mm
  • Available in Canada Feb. 5 for $149 with a 3-year contract
    (Specs via Crackberry.com)

According to preliminary reviews, the Z10 is being called fast, fluid, and well thought-out and, unsurprisingly, leaps and bounds better than RIM's previous smartphones. The new OS, particularly on the Z10, is very heavily gesture-based, with swipes to the left and right revealing the BlackBerry Hub that houses all the apps for the device. Users who are hesitant to switch away from the physical keyboard will likely be pleasantly surprised by the predictive text features, which make the transition a lot less painful. The Z10 really places a focus on productivity, Engadget surmises, one of the reasons that loyal BlackBerry fans have kept with the brand for so long.

[ Related: Five cool things that may convince you to get a new BlackBerry ]

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10 (Getty Images)

  • Integrates touch screen with a physical QWERTY keyboard
  • 'Glass weave' cover which BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins called thinner, lighter and stronger than plastic
  • 3.1-inch touch screen is 720 x 720, with multi-touch gesture support
  • Dual-core processor
  • 8MP rear-facing camera with same specs as the Z10, plus an unspecified front-facing camera (also likely the same)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Expandable memory with microSD, microSDHC slot up to 32GB
  • NFC, microUSB, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE connectivity
  • WiFI (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Accelerometer, Gyroscope
    (Specs via Phone Arena)

The BlackBerry Q10 is not yet priced, but is roughly expected to launch in April. Information is currently quite sparse on the Q10, so more will likely be made known closer to launch day, whenever that ends up happening.

BlackBerry (as the company is now known) will be partnering with Rogers, Bell, Virgin, SaskTel, Koodo and Fido in Canada as carriers, and retail partners will include Walmart, Future Shop, Best Buy and The Source.

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