BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) – formerly known as Research In Motion – will debut its new phone on AT&T Inc., the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier.
AT&T (NYSE: T) said Monday, will begin taking consumers’ orders for BlackBerry’s new flagship Z10 phone Tuesday, ahead of the device going on sale March 22.
The Z10 will sell for $199.99 with a two-year agreement, Dallas-based AT&T said today in a statement. It is the first phone to run BlackBerry’s new BB10 operating system, the linchpin of the Canadian smartphone company’s comeback bid.
BlackBerry operates a research and development office in the Triangle.
The U.S. rollout of the Z10 trails its debut in other countries, a delay that BlackBerry has attributed to a lengthier testing process by American carriers. With the new phone, BlackBerry and AT&T are looking to entice customers into ditching the physical keyboard that was once BlackBerry’s hallmark in favor of a touch-screen interface.
“AT&T customers were the first to experience BlackBerry smartphones and services in the U.S. and we are thrilled to bring the next evolution, the BlackBerry Z10, to the nation’s fastest 4G LTE network,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices and Developer Services at AT&T Mobility. “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 with easy access to all their messages in BlackBerry Hub.”
BlackBerry climbed 10.4 percent to $14.42 in late-morning trading in New York, the biggest intraday gain since Feb. 5. The stock had climbed 10 percent this year before today.
T-Mobile USA Inc., the fourth-largest U.S. carrier, began taking its own Z10 preorders today for business customers. The first devices will be received by those users as early as this week, T-Mobile said in an e-mailed statement. The Z10 will be widely available to consumers by the end of the month, the company said.
In its statement, AT&T didn’t mention the timing of the release of the Q10, a model with a physical keyboard designed to appeal to BlackBerry’s user base. Although BlackBerry Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said in February that the Q10 will go on sale “around the April-May time frame,” the company has yet to give specific dates for its release in any country.
Features as spelled out by AT&T:
- BlackBerry Hub acts as a central location for your emails and conversations. You can easily peek into the Hub from any app with one swipe to see what’s new, then instantly swipe back to what you were doing.
- The new BlackBerry Touchscreen Keyboard learns how you write and adapts to your typing style so you can write faster and more accurately.
- BlackBerry fans have long loved BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). The new BlackBerry Z10 features BBM Video and Screen Share so you can catch up face-to-face and share the content on your screen** with your friend or co-worker.
- Taking photos and creating memories is easier with Time Shift, an astonishing camera feature that captures the moments before and after you press the shutter to let you create the best shot, and BlackBerry Story Maker, which lets you weave those moments together to create a movie in just a couple of swipes.
- BlackBerry Balance technology allows you to use your Z10 for work and play without compromising the security of your business-related content when connected to BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10