By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – The AT&T-network version of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone went on sale today in AT&T and Best Buy stores nationwide at $199 with two-year contract.
The Verizon-network version goes on sale March 28 at $199 through Verizon’s direct channels and Best Buy locations. T-Mobile will begin selling the 4G LTE device on March 26 through T-Mobile retail stores, select dealers, national retailers and online at T-Mobile.com, based on statements from T-Mobile and BlackBerry. T-Mobile hasn’t announced pricing, but Best Buy has priced the device at $199 with two-year contract on its website. Best Buy sells T-Mobile phones only through its website.
Sprint is not picking up the Z10 but instead plans at a later date to offer BlackBerry’s Q10, which is equipped with hard QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen.
Additional distribution details were not available.
Best Buy sold what it believes is the first Z10 in the U.S. just after midnight in the early morning hours of Friday at its New York City store in Manhattan’s Union Square, which is open 24 hours per day.
Both BlackBerry 10 phones, unveiled in January, are BlackBerry’s first phones with BlackBerry 10 OS, which the company contends is critical to turning around the company’s shrinking smartphone sales.
For its part, Best Buy said the Z10 with get the “full-court press” in the retailer’s newspaper inserts, website, digital advertising and email blasts. In all 1,400 of its Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores, salespeople have undergone training, and one salesperson in each store has undergone more extensive training than the others to become the Z10 expert in the store, a spokesperson said.
“BlackBerry invested in additional in-person, web-based and on-device training to ensure that each Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile store has a BlackBerry expert to help customers understand everything they can get out of the new Z10 device,” a Best Buy spokesperson said. Each expert received a Z10 to get personal, hands-on experience with the device, she added.
“BlackBerry has been interested in partnering with us for several years to execute a program like this,” she noted.
The Z10 full-touch smartphone features a 4.2-inch 356 ppi display, and the Q10 has a physical QWERTY keyboard and a 3.1-inch touchscreen.
Both phones feature 1.5GHz dual-core processors, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage and an expandable memory card slot.
Key advances of the new OS over current BlackBerry OS include:
The OS also lets people using BlackBerry’s IM service to switch to a video call by swiping, and the ScreenShare feature lets users share what’s on their screen — from pictures to PowerPoint presentations — with other BlackBerry 10 users, with the presenter in control of what appears on other phones’ screens.
BlackBerry also announced yesterday that it expanded its BlackBerry 10 app store to 100,000 apps, up from 70,000 when the phone rolled out in the U.K. on Jan. 31.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.