Starting March 12, AT&T will begin offering pre-orders of the all new Blackberry Z10. The smart-phone itself will begin shipping on March 22nd. New & Existing customers will get first dibs on the pre-orders, followed by business users and store purchases later in the month.
The new Blackberry will use AT&T’s LTE network, which will enable faster download speeds, but users will be obliged to the two-year commitment and a $199.99 retail price. Clearly the new Blackberry will be challenging the iPhone and Android, but seems to be a little overly-ambitious to go head-on with the smart-phone power players.
According to most reviews, the Z10 does show a lot of improvement from the Blackberry 7. The screen is top-notch and the software shows a much-needed improvement. However, it does have its shortcomings. The low-light camera seems to capture less than perfect quality images, and the middling design and build quality of the handset is clearly no iPhone.
In addition to AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will also be offering the Z10 to it’s customers. Sprint is not expected to sell the device, but will be offering the BlackBerry Q10, which comes with RIM’s iconic QWERTY keyboard. The Q10 is expected to launch about a month after the Z10. T-mobile will begin sales to business customers starting today.
The launch of the BlackBerry Z10 is important since there is so much riding on its success. BlackBerry devices, which once dominated smartphone sales in the U.S., have fallen from favor in the U.S. over the past couple of years. This decline in sales is due mostly to, not surprisingly American consumers investing in iPhones and Androids. RIM has been working on the new BlackBerry 10 software in an effort to take on these competitors, and its carriers do seem to show high expectations for the Blackberry Z10, slotting it right there with the iPhone and Android.