We’re right in the thick of RIM’s big BlackBerry 10 announcement in New York, and it’s been nothing if not eventful so far. CEO Thorsten Heins just recently unveiled the new BlackBerry Z10 (full review here) a little while ago, and now the topic of conversation has turned to something else: availability. RIM’s first BlackBerry 10-powered device will first appear in the UK and Canada, with sales beginning tomorrow across the pond and Feb. 5 in the Great White North for $149.99 on a 3-year contract.
It’ll arrive in the U.S. in March, with pre-orders starting at the four major carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile today, according to BlackBerry’s Alec Saunders. Pricing in the U.S. has yet to be announced for all carriers, but Verizon has said it will provide the Z10 at $199 on a two-year term for new agreements. And while on stage BlackBerry said that the Z10 will come to the U.K. tomorrow, on through all major UK channels, including EE, Phones4u, CPW, Vodafone, O2, Three UK, and BT.
BlackBerry 10 first started undergoing carrier testing back in October, and by the end of the month Heins announced that more than 50 carriers had begun testing the veteran smartphone maker’s new mobile OS. Heins said that the delay in U.S. launch of the Z10 was due to American carriers taking longer to test new devices than those in other countries. That’s not exactly wonderful for BlackBerry, since the devices will go to market in the U.S. well after the company’s splashy Super Bowl marketing campaign launches.
The Z10 has already made some progress getting its regulatory approval, which could suggest we’ll see it on AT&T’s network first, but that will depend on more factors than just government sign-off.
The FCC has approved a Z10 for AT&T and T-Mobile, but not Verizon, Sprint. No Q10 approved yet. That might tell you who gets what first.—
As for the keyboard-toting Q10, it’ll be available in an “April timeframe,” Heins said at the event. That’s a global expected launch date, and there are no details yet on where it will launch first.
Additional reporting by Darrell Etherington