Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) BlackBerry Z10 phones could hit U.S. shelves on March 22, according to a new Bloomberg report.
The story did not cite sources but the phones will allegedly be sold by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) on this rumored launch date. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA, a Deutsche Telekom AG (FRA:DTE) (PINK:DTEGY) (ETR:DTE) unit, have previously said they’ll carry the phone and begin selling it in March, but they haven’t confirm the sales launch date.
Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) will not be joining the Z10 party but will instead sell the upcoming Q10. This model has a physical keyboard and an expected launch date later in the year.
In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, BlackBerry wrote of the potential U.S. launch date, “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.”
For Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) (now BlackBerry), it receives about 20 percent of its revenue from the U.S. and has high expectations that the Z10 can give the brand a much-needed jump start against its popular rivals including the leading Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone. The new device has already received some praise from U.S. technology critics and analysts.
American consumers have been required to await its release a little longer as testing conducted by carriers takes place. The phone has already been introduced in 21 countries and on Thursday, Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) CEO Thorsten Heins said at a conference via Reuters, “The feedback is very encouraging. What has been a real surprise for us is that BlackBerry 10 as a platform and product is attracting users that are currently on other platforms.”
He added, “We are just five weeks into this. We have just one product out in 21 countries, so it is early indications, but we are encouraged by what we see and hear from our carrier partners.”
The phone is finding a lot of success in emerging countries, especially in India. This comes as somewhat of a surprise as its consumers usually go for less expensive devices.
Heins added, “I was surprised when we launched in India how well the Z10, which is a high-end device, sold. We shipped into the channel product that we thought would have been good for at least five days and I got an emergency call from our manager in India, saying that they were sold out in two days. Now we are scrambling to re-load that channel.”
Along with strong Indian sales, the phone has found some success in the U.K. But its greatest challenge to date may come in the U.S. later this month and in the spring.