BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry Q10 features a real keyboard, smart ID card support

The release earlier this year of the BlackBerry 10 operating system and the Z10 smart phone was seen as the company's attempt to keep pace with Apple and Android phones while retaining its long-standing appeal in the public sector.

The company even opened up its BlackBerry Enterprise Server to iOS and Android devices, in acknowledgment that enterprises were intending to accommodate multiple mobile platforms.

The new OS and the touch-screen Z10 have drawn positive responses, but one thing that gave some veteran BlackBerry users pause was the lack of the physical keyboard that for so many years was the “crackberry’s” defining characteristic.

Now, users can have something from both worlds. The company has released the BlackBerry Q10,  which puts the new OS into a smart phone with a 3.1-inch OLED display and the QWERTY keyboard BlackBerry users are familiar with.

The Q10 has features found on the Z10, such as Balance, which separates work and personal functions, but adds a few more with Version 10.1 of the operating system. These include keyboard and navigational shortcuts and, significantly for agencies, additional access and policy controls through BES and support for smart ID card readers such as Personal Identity Verification and Common Access Cards.

The Q10 is rolling out this week, with T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T and Sprint all planning to sell it, typically at about $200 with a contract.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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