A month ago we splurged some details on the BlackBerry R10, the mid-range QWERTY device that's almost certainly going to be the third BB10 handset to emerge sometime later this year.
It's apparently shown its face a couple of times since the frankly rubbish sketch we showcased back then, and here's its latest appearance, in a fetching red posted to Instagram.
The R10 may have its basic QWERTY form factor in common with the just-launched Q10, but its less premium billing is obvious just from looking at it. You could say it's the Curve to the Q10's Bold, though without the curve (which makes it a fairly useless analogy to be fair).
Anyway, it looks decent in red, but arguably more interesting is the snippet of info the person who posted the pic dished up when asked about its availability: “scheduled Q3, but it's a mid tier... plastic and all. Nice though”.
There are question marks over the image's legitimacy, however. First off, there's a second device visible in the background showing an identical screen, so it's clearly a dummy/development handset. Second, the word “calender” is spelt wrong, which just wouldn't happen with a legit app.
So this could be anything from an advertising mockup to an outright fake.
If the basics are correct, though, the switch to plastic is certainly a surprise. BlackBerry has actively ruled out the chances of fighting at the budget end of the market, so it would be an interesting move to adopt a material so clearly associated with budget handsets (the whole basis of all the criticism of the Galaxy S4's supposedly inferior build quality).
For a mid-tier phone it's less of a big deal, but a lot of people will probably feel a plastic shell just doesn't seem the kind of thing BlackBerry should do.
But of course BlackBerry circa 2013 is a new animal, so we look forward to the R10 shattering some stereotypes. If that's what it's actually gonna do, of course.