BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB), is launching Z10 with AT&T Inc. on March 22 for $199.99 with a two-year contract.
The second-largest U.S. wireless carrier annonced Monday that the touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone will be available for pre-orders on March 12.
At $199.99, the BlackBerry 10-equipped phone will be going head-to-head with the iPhone 5 and top-end Android phones like the Galaxy S III.
“Customers who have grown to love the tried and true BlackBerry experience will continue to enjoy the easy typing and the secure platform they expect with a fresh platform that lets them get more out of their smartphone,” Jeff Bradley, a senior vice president at AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), said in the statement.
The BlackBerry Z10, unveiled for the first time on Jan 30, is the first device to launch with Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s new BlackBerry 10 software and the first to operate over AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T)’s 4G LTE network.
The new device is expected to uncover the widening gap between Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB)’s aging fleet of BlackBerry 7 devices – which were launched in August, 2011 – and the newest versions of the iPhone and Samsung’s phones running Google Inc.’s Android software.
It is important to highlight that Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has lost a significant market share to Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94 (KRX:005930) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the U.S. and similar developed markets all around the globe. Although BlackBerry has managed to generate 65 percent of its overall revenue from markets outside U.S., U.K., and Canada, the U.S. market alone is said to account for about 19 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Some recent reports also suggested that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is expected to launch the device in late March.
Bloomberg reported that T-Mobile USA Inc. began taking its own Z10 pre-orders today for business customers. According to BlackBerry, the Z10 device will be readily available to consumers by the end of the month.