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March 11, 2013

AT&T to Debut BlackBerry Z10 March 22 in U.S.

Pre-sales start March 12 for $199.99 touchscreen device

It seem AT&T will be the first American carrier to market BlackBerry’s Z10, the new touchscreen device from the Canadian Smartphone maker that has been enjoying strong sales in Canada and the U.K. for the past month.

The Z10 will be available for pre-order March 12 and will go on sale in AT&T stores and online March 22. The device will retail for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

“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,” Jeff Bradley, AT&T Mobility senior vice-president of devices and developer services, said in a statement.

“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 Z10

BlackBerry Z10

BlackBerry has a lot riding on the U.S. launch of its Z10. Although BlackBerry was once the mobile phone of choice for corporate America, it has lost significant market share to Apple’s iPhone and Android-operated Smartphones.

The Z10, run by the new BlackBerry 10 OS, is an obvious bid by the Canadian firm to appeal to new consumers, specifically those who use iPhones or Android-powered devices.

The new device features a faster browser so “whatever you do, you are only one swipe away from all of your activities” and a 4.2-inch screen that offers a “cinematic experience,” according to BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins.

It also boasts a smart camera and a decent app library that includes services such as Skype and the ever-popular Angry Birds game. It is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual core processor and has 2GB RAM — double that of the iPhone or Galaxy S III. It offers 16GB of storage, but will accept cards up to 32GB. It is available in black or white.

Key points of the BlackBerry 10 platform are:

• BlackBerry Hub — a single place to manage all conversations whether personal or work in e-mail, BBM messages, social media updates or notifications.

• BlackBerry Flow — enables features and apps to “flow seamlessly” together, helping the user complete the task at hand. “For example, you can tap on an attendee listed for a meeting to see their latest tweet or LinkedIn profile,” a BlackBerry press release reads. “Or tap the thumbnail of a picture you just took to launch the Picture editor and quickly apply a transformation or filter, then instantly share it with your contacts.”

• BlackBerry Balance — technology that separates and secures work applications and data from personal content on BlackBerry devices.

The Z10 has, for the most part, received good reviews.

The New York Times’ David Pogue described the Z10 as “lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas,” while the CBC’s Peter Nowak described it as “slick, fast and good looking, with only a few noticeable holes.”

BlackBerry’s Z10 is also to be sold by Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA although the companies have yet to announce a launch date.