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BlackBerry Q10 smartphone to hit Canadian stores May 1

RIM’s BlackBerry Q10

Research In Motion

Research In Motion Ltd. says the keypad version of its new smartphone will arrive in Canadian stores on May 1.

The BlackBerry Q10 will first be stocked by carriers Rogers Communications Inc., Bell Mobility and Telus Corp..

The new model, which sports both a keyboard and a touchscreen, has been highly anticipated by some long-time BlackBerry fans.

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"We're seeing strong momentum behind BlackBerry 10 from carriers, customers and partners around the world," said Andrew MacLeod, the company's managing director for Canada.

"The BlackBerry Q10 will accelerate this trend."

When the Waterloo, Ont.,-based smartphone maker revealed its new phones in January, several analysts were critical of BlackBerry's decision to stagger the release of the touchscreen and keypad versions.

The delay in selling the new keyboard BlackBerry has complicated RIM's efforts to hang on to customers attracted by Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android system. The BlackBerry has fallen behind rivals, but many users have stayed loyal because they prefer a physical keyboard over the touch screen on the iPhone and most Android devices. Temptations to switch grow with each delay, despite favourable reviews for the new BlackBerry 10.

U.S. carriers are expected to get the phone "by the end of May," the company said in an e-mailed statement. The four major U.S. carriers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, will all carry the Q10.

With files from AP

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