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BlackBerry rolls out low-cost smartphone, BBM app for Android, iOS

BlackBerry announced its third new device of 2013, a low-cost smartphone with a physical keyboard.

The new smartphone, Q5, appears to be a basic version of the BlackBerry Q10, another smartphone by the Canadian company that is set to go on sale in the U.S. this summer.

The Q5 is aimed at emerging markets and will begin selling in July. The phone will be available in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. No word on when or if it will come to the U.S. and how it would be priced.

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BlackBerry, at its annual conference in Orlando, Fla., also said that it will be bringing its Internet-based messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger, to Android devices and the iPhone.

The company said it hopes to release a BBM app for the two operating systems this summer, granted they receive approval by Google Play and the Apple App Store.

BBM offers the benefit of letting users send each other messages using the Internet, therefore not counting against their text message count. BBM also lets users have multi-person conversations and easily send calendar notes, photos and files. BBM is also useful for communicating with users in other countries since the service relies on an Internet connection, not on carriers' networks.

However, the move may be coming too late. BBM was once one of the most popular messaging services, but since the emergence of Apple and Android, many have stopped using the service. Now, people are turning to Apple's iMessage, Facebook Messenger and many other services to communicate for free through the Internet.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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