Most smartphones long ago ditched the hardware keyboard but there are still those pining for a full set of buttons. There’s still one new product that might appeal: AT&T (s t) announced on Tuesday that it will sell the BlackBerry Q10 — a combination touchscreen and keyboard phone — for $199 with contract. Pre-orders for the handset begin tomorrow, June 5.
AT&T doesn’t yet have a release date for the handset, which is BlackBerry’s second new handset this year: The Q10 follows behind the all touchscreen Z10 phone that arrived in the U.S. in April. Due to the keyboard, the Q10 has a smaller display, but it still has a high resolution screen: The 3.1-inch display is 720 x 720 resolution.
The phone, of course, runs on AT&T’s LTE network with HSPA+ service as a backup connection as needed. The Q10 has 16 GB of internal storage and can be expanded with an up to 32 GB microSD card. A dual-core processor and 2 GB of RAM power BlackBerry 10.1. Typical of BlackBerry devices — and those with smaller screens — the phone should have better than average battery life. AT&T says to expect 59 hours of MP3 listening, up to 9 hours of video playback and 15.29 days of standby time.
The showcase of course is the hardware keyboard that BlackBerry phones have always offered. The company’s SureType technology for the onscreen keyboard is quite good but for those that can’t give up the old BlackBerry hardware keys, the Q10 offers the best of both worlds: A newer platform with modern hardware and the legacy keyboard that BlackBerry has long been known for.