Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) is set to finally sell its new Q10 smart phone in Canadian stores on May 1. The hotly anticipated smart phone, which features a full Qwerty keyboard, is the second of the two major smart phones the Canadian company is releasing on its new BB10 platform.
The Q10 is a return to classic Blackberry design cues, in contrast to the Z10, which was launched earlier this year. That phone featured a full touch screen along the lines of major smart phones like the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, and the Samsung Galaxy S4.
The return to the classic Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) design, exemplified by the company’s most iconic model the Blackberry Bold, will be sure to attract some of the company’s most ardent followers back to the brand.
The new smart phone will be available in Canada at retailers like Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE:BBY) which will begin to sell the phone for $199 with a three year contract.
There are problems with the launch of the new smart phone, however. Despite the existence of a die hard fan base for Blackberry smart phones, even the most reactionary fans will be forced to admit that the market for smartphones with full keyboards is declining.
Unless Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) can manage a change in smart phone culture across the board, the Q10 is going to have a hard time catching on. According to the Wall Street Journal, the global market for full keyboard smart phones dropped to 62.8 million units last year, down from 100.2 million units in 2011.
The same article asserted that the market for full touch screen models had exploded in the same period, reaching 650 million units, up from 372 million in 2011. The Q10 is not going to be an easy sell, and carriers know it.
Major carriers are not planning on promoting the phone as far as their publicity has shown, and the anticipated poor results from Z10 sales means that stores are less willing to promote smart phones from a company like Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) that looks weak.
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Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) has shown it can deal with stressful business situations, but it is unlikely the Q10, or any keyboard smart phone, will save the company. Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) (TSE:BB) shares closed up 2 percent on today’s market.