BlackBerry 10 goes on sale in the U.S.

The company begins a battle with Microsoft for third place in the large U.S. market

BlackBerry began a fight to regain share in the key U.S. market on Friday with the debut of the first phone running its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The BlackBerry Z10 went on sale nationwide at stores of AT&T, the country's biggest cellular carrier. It's scheduled to launch at T-Mobile and Verizon stores next week.

BlackBerry 10 represents a complete restart for the company.

At an AT&T store on San Francisco's Market Street, in the heart of the city's financial district, there were none of the long lines and whooping customers that symbolize iPhone launches.

But no one really expected that.

As the store opened at 9 a.m., just one of three customers waiting in line was there to buy the BlackBerry Z10.

(See a video report from the AT&T San Francisco store launch on YouTube.)

But the individual, who declined to be interviewed, wasn't the only BlackBerry customer in the queue.

San Francisco resident Darlene Henderson was clutching her current phone, a BlackBerry Torch, in her hands as she spoke to a reporter.

"I'm upgrading and actually, I'm leaning towards the Samsung instead of BlackBerry 10," she said. "I heard about it, read about it, the reviews are great, so I'm waiting for my income tax [refund] so I can upgrade."

The choice of Henderson to leave BlackBerry represents one of the big challenges facing the company. The prolonged development of BlackBerry 10, which suffered delays and took more than a year to get to market, meant some users got impatient and have already switched to Apple and Android.

BlackBerry needs the Z10 and the Q10, a yet-to-be-launched handset with a physical keyboard, to be impressive enough to convince existing customers to stick with the platform. To that end, the company has poured millions of dollars into encouraging app developers to get applications on the OS to better match competitors.

Another big challenge it faces is signing up new customers.

BlackBerry doesn't have a chance of matching the momentum of Apple and Android any time soon, so it's in a battle with Microsoft for the third-place position in the market. Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8 in late 2012.

"We do know that there's BlackBerry loyalists out there who are going to love this phone," said John Britton, director of media relations at AT&T, speaking outside of the San Francisco store.

"We've seen lines -- obviously iPhones are the biggest lines we've seen. We've had lines for some other launches too," he said. "I think lately we've seen more people pre-ordering online. It's just an easier way to do it, it comes to them or they go to the store and pick it up."

BlackBerry has yet to release sales figures for the new phones, which first went on sale in the U.K. on Jan. 31. The first sign of how well the platform is doing is expected next week when BlackBerry reports its financial results for the December-to-February quarter, which includes the launch of BlackBerry 10 in many countries outside of the U.S.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobilesmartphonesBlackberryconsumer electronicsMobile OSesBlackBerry OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?