Judging from the photos that first bubbled up from Chinese Web site DGtle, then nabbed by N4BB, BBin, and Mobile Syrup, this R10 seems to sport a classic physical keyboard but a chassis that lacks the Q10's premium styling. Essentially the handset -- if the images are legit -- relies on less-costly plastic materials rather than the metal and fibered glass you'll find on the BlackBerry Q10.
The R10 also differs from the Q10 in that it has a glossy back plate and a more rectangular shape. According to reports, however, the R10 will run modern BlackBerry 10 software so perhaps the gadget won't prove too much of a step down. I don't have much faith in the QWERTY, though, since its keys appear flat and shallow compared to the Q10's marvelously chiseled typing surfaces.
So is the rumored BlackBerry R10, or whatever it might actually be called, all we can hope to see at BlackBerry Live next week? I personally was hoping for some sleek new tablets, but BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins torpedoed those wishes with statements he made recently.
Perhaps the company will announce some big ticket application partnerships or even display a real (read: easy) way to port Android apps to BB10. Find out as CNET reports live from BlackBerry's big event in Orlando, Florida next week.