BlackBerry's Z10 touchscreen only smartphone is finally about to hit the U.S. Although not confirmed -- yet -- with an official press release, it was reported on Friday that the Z10 will hit the retail stores of the nation's second largest wireless carrier, AT&T, on March 22.
Despite the fact that BlackBerry did not select the U.S. as one of the first launch markets for the Z10, the company -- nee Research in Motion or RIM -- gets about 20 percent of its revenue from the U.S. BlackBerry is counting on the Z10 and a follow-up, the QWERTY-keyboarded Q10, to revive its brand’s appeal against Android and iOS, which have taken over a market once dominated by the Canadian company.
The Z10 will have reached 21 countries, but American users have had to wait, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said earlier, due to the longer and more rigorous testing periods required by U.S. carriers. Reports on the Z10's sales, though, have been favorable -- though not official -- with one saying that Canadian and U.K. Android and iOS users have been adopting the phone.
Neither AT&T nor BlackBerry would confirm the date, though only BlackBerry issued a statement: “BlackBerry has not announced official launch dates for the BlackBerry Z10 in the U.S. and we are not able to confirm any rumored launch dates on behalf of our carrier partners."
The nation's no. one wireless carrier, Verizon Wireless, said in February that it expects to offer the Z10 at the end of March. Sprint, on the other hand, said earlier that it will not offer the Z10, opting to sell only the keyboarded Q10 later this year. T-Mobile USA, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE), said on Feb. 7 that it aims to begin selling the Z10 in mid- March, which is nearing.
RIM rebranded itself as BlackBerry at the end of January, when it introduced its new mobile OS, BlackBerry 10, as well as the Z10 and Q10. The company's stock was down $0.02 to $13.20 on the NASDAQ stock exchange at noon, EST, on Friday.