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BlackBerry’s keyboard a plus for many, but new phone’s still lagging

A thumb-friendly keyboard is still a big advantage for many BlackBerry fans, but such devices are losing market share.
A thumb-friendly keyboard is still a big advantage for many BlackBerry fans, but such devices are losing market share.Graeme Roy/Canadian Press via Associated Press

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The new BlackBerry smartphone is here, and it’s a fine piece of work — light, sleek, and thin, and featuring the classic pushbutton keyboard. It’s exactly the phone I needed two or three years ago. But today? Not so much.

I speak of the Q10, available from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. for $199 with a two-year contract, or $99 down and $20 a month for two years from T-Mobile US Inc. A version for customers of Sprint Nextel Corp. should roll out later this year.

BlackBerry, of course, was once a leading smartphone brand, famed for its robust corporate-grade software, and its excellent physical keyboard, the best ever fitted to a pocket-sized device. But then came Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

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