BlackBerry has announced its latest smartphone, the Q5 which features a physical keyboard and budget pricing to help extend it reach.
Aimed at developing and emerging markets the Q5 is the first smartphone running the BlackBerry 10 software which is aimed specifically at the budget end of the market.
Announced at the company's developer conference taking place in Orlando this week, the BlackBerry Q5 marks the second stage of the company's efforts to re-establish itself as one of the major players in the smartphone market - having laucnhed the BlackBerry 10 platform with the Z10 and Q10 smartphones in January.
Thorsten Heins, the company's CEO, took to the stage in Orlando telling the audience of developers, analysts and media that it has been an "incredible year for BlackBerry. It has been an incredible journey for past 12-14 months [but] man, we have reached solid ground with this company."
He said a lot of people had written off the company telling him that his first BlackBerry Live keynote last year would also be his last. But Heins says the company has proved them wrong, adding: "We are not only still here, we are firing on all cylinders as a company."
The Q5 will be available from July in selected market in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa highlighting just where BlackBerry sees potential for growth. Branding the smartphone as "youthful and fun" BlackBerry is clearly looking to hold onto the market segment which it captured with a combination of low-cost hardware and its BBM service, which allowed for free messaging between users.
No pricing or specific launch dates or markets have been announced, but the phone will be available in four colours including black, white, red and pink. The physical Qwerty keyboard has been combined with a 3.1in touchscreen.
Since launch, BlackBerry 10 has now gone on sale in 14 countries with over 200 carriers and Heins announced the BlackBerry World app store has now passed 120,000 apps. He also announced that one of the major gaps in its catalogue - Skype - would be plugged, though the app will only work with the updated BlackBerry 10.1 software which is beginning to roll out this week to Z10 smartphones.
There had been suggestions that BlackBerry would look to get back into the tablet market following the terrible launch of the PlayBook, but following Heins' comments last month about the tablet market being dead within five years, it was no surprise that we didn't see any news in this area from BlackBerry.
Heins did have a subtle dig at other platforms however by saying the experience on mobile devices needs to be purpose built for mobile, "trying to fit desktop experience to mobile simply doesn't work."
BlackBerry launched its redesigned new platform, BlackBerry 10 in January alongside the Z10 and Q10 smartphones which have gone on sale around the world in recent months. Initial sales seem healthy with the company's most recent set of financial results showing it had shipped "approximately 1 million smartphones in the first month the Z10 was on sale.
However the company has since announced another order from an unknown supplier for a further 1 million devices. The company launched the Q10 last month in the UK, with reports suggesting it sold out on its first day on sale.