BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) confirmed that all four Tier 1 U.S. carriers will launch the BlackBerry Q10, the company's first BlackBerry 10-based smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard, giving the company a boost of carrier support as it seeks to regain market share in the American market.
The Q10 will retail for a suggested price of $249 on contract, putting it about $50 higher than most high-end smartphones like the entry-level Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC One and even BlackBerry's own Z10 touchscreen smartphone.
"In the U.S. market, the BlackBerry Q10 is priced so it can be available at a suggested retail price of $249 on contract," BlackBerry spokeswoman Rebecca Freiburger told FierceWireless. "Carriers will confirm pricing closer to availability. We expect the BlackBerry Q10 to be available in the U.S. by the end of May."
Freiburger confirmed that Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), T-Mobile USA will support the phone. Sprint had previously acknowledged its support and T-Mobile just announced that starting April 29 business customers interested in the BlackBerry Q10 can register for the phone. None of the carriers has confirmed pricing or exact availability though.
Anil Doradla, an analyst at William Blair & Co., told Bloomberg that pricing the Q10 higher than most high-end smartphones on contract is probably a deliberate effort to target business users who may be putting the phone on their expense accounts. The phone's Qwerty keyboard could also appeal more to traditional enterprise BlackBerry users than the Z10, whose touchscreen display is designed for a broad market appeal.
"They've decided this is not going to be a mass appeal phone, but one targeted at road warriors," Doradla said. "It's not the wrong thing to do."
BlackBerry will need strong U.S. carrier support to help it claw back market share. BlackBerry declined from 7.3 percent U.S. market share in December to 5.4 percent in February, according to research firm comScore.
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this T-Mobile post
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