by Al Sacco

Mid-Tier BlackBerry 10 Device Shows Its QWERTY on Camera

Apr 05, 20132 mins
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessSmartphones

An early image of what appears to be either BlackBerry's middle-tier or low-end full QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device hit the Internet this morning.

In January, BlackBerry announced the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones, the all-touch Z10 and the Q10, which sports a traditional BlackBerry “hardware” full-QWERTY keyboard. The first two devices are aimed at the high-end consumer market in North America, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Z10 is currently available, and the Q10 is expected to be released in some markets next month.

BlackBerry R Series keyboard

BlackBerry said on multiple occasions that it will release four more BlackBerry 10 handsets in 2013, two aimed the mid-range consumer market and two aimed at entry-level or first-time smartphone owners. BlackBerry will release an all-touch model and a full QWERTY model for each tier.

Today, a relatively clear image hit the Web of what appears to the mid-range full QWERTY device, which is being referred to as the BlackBerry 10 “R Series.” It looks a bit like the high-end BlackBerry Q10, but appears to be made of a less-durable, plastic-like material. It does not have a trackpad like older QWERTY BlackBerrys. And its keys are more in the BlackBerry “Curve-style” with space between the buttons, compared to the Q10’s “Bold-style” keys with no space between them and “frets” above and below each row of buttons.

BlackBerry said it will release these middle- and low-end devices some time this year, so it’s not surprising that we’re starting to see images of what look like near-final devices.

It’s unclear which device is pictured above, and it’s possible that the middle and entry-level QWERTY devices will have similar or the same hardware design, with different components inside. But this appears to be a look at what we can expect in the future for the first middle or low-end QWERTY BlackBerry 10 device.