BlackBerry Falls on Q5 Smartphone News

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - BlackBerry ( BBRY) shares were falling even as the smartphone maker unveiled a new operating system and a new lower-priced handset at its widely-watched annual conference for investors and developers taking place this year in Orlando.

CEO Thorsten Heins made the announcements while sparking speculation that the Ontario, Canada-based company may soon ship new BBM (BlackBerry Messaging) apps for both Apple ( AAPL) iOS and Google ( GOOG)Android devices.

Blackberry was falling 3.4% to $15.34 in afternoon trading. The shares had surged 34% this year before today. The Nasdaq Composite index has increased 15% in 2013.

Heins announced a new Q5 smartphone, a lower-priced OS 10 device created for BlackBerry's fans in their "selected" (emerging) markets. It has a 3.1-inch touchscreen, the famous BB physical keyboard and will come in a trio of colors. It's slated to be released this summer in portions of Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum, thinks that with the Q5 "Blackberry is clearly aiming to replicate the success of the Blackberry Curve in emerging markets, doing so will help the company establish the Blackberry 10 platform in the market. However, Blackberry has significant competition in this area with a number of handset manufacturers championing an array of low-cost Android devices as well as Nokia's Asha 501.

OS 10.1 has just been released for the Z10 smartphone (the model without the famous BlackBerry keyboard). The upgrade includes a number of enhancements/improvements including better cursor control, click to call from an email or BBM message, personalized notifications, easier international dialing, improved calendars and a high dynamic range (HDR) mode for the camera.

The software upgrade is free for Z10 users. You'll be notified when your cellular carrier is ready to push the software update to your phone.

As for the previously-announced BlackBerry Q10 (the one with their famous QWERTY keyboard) it's coming to Sprint ( S), T-Mobile ( TMUS) and Verizon ( VZ). They should be available in a few short weeks (summer is what the carriers are saying).

As for new apps, Heins announced the addition of a new, native Skype app as well as a Moog music app. Skype will work on the new OS 10.1 and a downloadable preview should soon be available from the BB World app store. Until today, Moog was an Apple iOS exclusive.

And now, BBM is coming to iOS and Android users. You'll need to be running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or newer or iOS 6.0 to download and use the free app. The idea is for Blackberry to get a foothold on your non-Blackberry device with the possibility of added features (BBM Channels, BBM Voice, video and screen sharing, for instance) in the future.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.