Several Canadian retailers and wireless carriers began taking pre-orders today for the BlackBerry Q10 qwerty smartphone. See also: BlackBerry Q10 review - BlackBerry 10 smartphone with a qwerty keyboard.

However, there was no official word on when the Q10 will ship in Canada or the U.S. A BlackBerry spokeswoman said only: "The BlackBerry Q10 will be available in Canada in the coming weeks. Details on availability in other markets will follow soon." Blackberry is based in Waterloo, Ontario.

BlackBerry executives in January said only that the Q10 would ship in the second quarter, although some reports have said shipping would start in April.

The BlackBerry Q10 has a physical keyboard.

The Q10 pre-orders in Canada were announced by retailers Best Buy and FutureShop and wireless carriers Rogers and Telus.

Rogers divulged it will have both white and black versions of the Q10, and will charge $199.99 with a three-year contract. None of the four said when the phone will be available.

Reports have released a purported internal Rogers document that shows an April 30 launch date for the Q10.

Sprint, AT&T and Verizon Wireless plan to sell the Q10 in the U.S., but haven't set a firm shipping date.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the qwerty version of BlackBerry 10 is expected to be a hit with traditional BlackBerry users who are familiar with a physical keyboard. The touchscreen Z10 went on sale in the U.S. with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile in March.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is [email protected].

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