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BlackBerry Q10 Won't Hit U.S. Stores Until May or June

BlackBerry fans eager to get their hands on the company's new physical keyboard-toting Q10 smartphone may have to wait a little longer than they had initially hoped. During an interview with the Associated Press posted on the San Jose Mercury News' Web site, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stated that the Q10 is expected to reach U.S. customers roughly eight to 10 weeks after the touch screen-based Z10 is released.

With the Z10 estimated to land in stores some time in March, that would put the Q10's release date around mid-May to Early June. During the company's BlackBerry 10 unveil last week, Heins said that the Q10 was expected to be released around to a handful of international carriers in April. A U.S. release date was never specifically mentioned.

During the event, Heins indicated that U.S. carriers require more stringent testing of new devices than their international counterparts, which would explain the delay. Beyond its physical keyboard, the Q10 is functionally the same the Z10. However, the addition of a keyboard, a stalwart of the BlackBerry brand, is expected to make the Q10 more attractive to traditional BlackBerry users.

We spent some hands-on time with the Q10 and found its keyboard to be extremely responsive. The inclusion of frets between the keyboard's rows made navigation and touch typing a comfortable experience. Switching from the larger Z10's touch screen to the Q10's smaller display was initially jarring, but we quickly adjusted to the change. We're interested to see what else the Q10 has to offer in terms of battery life and general usability, and will be sure you bring you all of that information when we get our hands on one of the devices.