BlackBerry Z10 all set for March 19 availability in the Philippines

A white version of the new BlackBerry Z10.

MANILA, Philippines — BlackBerry’s latest attempt at regaining the mobile crown will soon hit stores in Metro Manila, bearing a price tag of P29,990 and support for high-speed LTE mobile Internet, executives announced Wednesday.

The BlackBerry Z10, the first-ever smartphone to carry the Canadian phone maker’s revitalized BB10 operating system, will be available on March 19 through the top three telecom firms in the Philippines — Smart Communications, Sun Cellular, and Globe Telecom. LTE plans, however, have yet to be disclosed by the telcos.

For interested users, BlackBerry Philippines is already accepting reservations from interested Filipino users via their Facebook page and an official website.

Featuring perhaps the most radical design transformation since the inception of BlackBerry, the Z10 will be powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor aided by 2GB of RAM, and will carry 16GB of onboard storage expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card.

It also includes the latest in “high density pixel and screen technology” that allows for a clearer and crisper display on a compact form factor. Executives announced that the Z10 will come in black and white colors for Philippine consumers.

But perhaps the most noteworthy feature to come to BlackBerry’s latest smartphone is the operating system, called BB10, which is tipped to clash head-on with popular mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS.

Largely gesture-based, BB10 features certain user-interface features that make it stand out among other mobile platforms, such as: BlackBerry Hub, which pools all contact information about a certain person into one location; BlackBerry Balance, which allows the user to quickly switch between work and personal profiles; and BlackBerry Peek, the OS’s multitasking facility, which gives the user the ability to quickly scroll between open applications and peek at notifications.

Executives said as much as 70,000 apps are already available on the BlackBerry World store front upon launch, aided largely by the opening of an online app generator that gives developers the facility to easily port their apps from other platforms and into the BB10 store front.

Announcing the latest BlackBerry device during the company’s 10th year of operations in the country, BlackBerry Philippines Country Director Cameron Vernest said: “BlackBerry 10 offers a faster and smarter experience that continuously adapts to you. Every feature, every gesture and every detail is designed to keep you moving.”

Touted as a platform that will “transform mobile communications into mobile computing,” BB10 is being hailed as the company’s last-ditch effort at staying relevant in the increasingly competitive smartphone market now dominated by the likes of Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, and Apple.

BlackBerry 10 devices will be offered in an all-touchscreen version as well as in a model that keeps a physical keyboard, which many “crackberries,” or loyal fans of the platform, have come to love. Local availability for QWERTY models, however, were not disclosed by local executives.