BlackBerry made headlines this morning when it unveiled the first smartphone to run the company’s brand new operating system: the BlackBerry Z10.

Late to the smartphone game, the BlackBerry Z10 will face some challenges winning over customers. With very few physical buttons and an unfamiliar interface, the new smartphone comes with a serious learning curve for iPhone and Android users.

The main focus of BlackBerry 10 is the Hub. Instead of switching between different apps for email, texts, and notifications, the Hub puts them all in one place. If you’d like, you can even integrate your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Although you can choose to display a single account at once, this giant inbox could take some time to get used to.

Early reviews foresee impatient mobile “throwing it down in frustration after the first 30 seconds.” Fortunately the Z10 is easy to hold on to — BlackBerry added a rubberized back that ensures it doesn’t slip, even on a sloped tabletop. The back is removable, however, so you can quickly access the battery, SIM card, and microSD memory.

The Z10 is similar in size to the iPhone 5 — 0.35 of an inch thick compared to the iPhone’s 0.30 — and boasts a 4.2-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1,280×768. Of course, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The Z10 has 16GB of internal storage and a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor with 2GB of RAM.

BlackBerry 10 will also support a “ton” of big apps, including Evernote, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Dropbox, and several news publications. Several of these apps were already available on older devices, as well as competitors iOS and Android. To help entice more developers to create for BB10, BlackBerry is offering $100 per approved app.

The BlackBerry Z10 will be available in the UK tomorrow and Canada on February 5th for $149.99 on a three-year contract. It’ll arrive in the U.S. in March with pre-orders starting today at Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Pricing has yet to be announced for all carriers, but Verizon said it will offer the Z10 at $199 on a two-year contract.

[Via: TechCrunch, Image credit: Enrique Dans]