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Canadian wireless carriers begin presales for BlackBerry 10 model with keyboard

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TORONTO - Loyal Canadian BlackBerry users who refuse to give up their keypad will finally have a chance to upgrade to a newer version starting this week.

A number of retailers and wireless carriers across the country began accepting presales for the BlackBerry Q10 physical keypad smartphone on Tuesday. The device is expected to arrive in stores by the end of the month.

The new model, which sports both a keypad and a touchscreen, has been highly anticipated by some longtime BlackBerry fans.

Both Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) and Telus (TSE:T) say presales are underway for the device, but neither would provide a date for when the Q10 would be available. Bell (TSX:BCE) will begin preorders on April 19, the company said.

All three companies are selling the phone on a three-year contract for $199.99. Telus and Bell said they will sell the phone without a contract for $700.

Rogers will sell the phone for $649.99 without a contract, and will be the only Canadian carrier that offers the BlackBerry Q10 in a white version, as well as the more common black model.

Retailers Best Buy and Future Shop said they are also taking preorders at its stores.

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.

Earlier this week, presales for the BlackBerry Q10 began in the U.K. at Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u.

The timeframe for a U.S. release hasn't been announced, though it's expected sometime in May or June.

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