By Jimmie Geddes email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Feb 06, 2013 10:46 AM EST
If you're a BlackBerry fan living in the U.S. and are skipping the BlackBerry Z10 in favor of its QWERTY-equipped Q10 sibling, you might not be able to purchase the device until the middle of May or early June.
When BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins announced the company's next-generation smartphones he gave dates of availability for the all-touch BlackBerry Z10. The smartphone would launch in the UK immediately, followed by a Canadian launch on Feb. 5 and he only provided information that the device would be available in the U.S. sometime in March. He gave no specific release date but said that carriers in the U.S. were holding up the launch of the Z10 due to strict carrier testing.
BlackBerry also announced a smartphone that many people were wishing would be available soon - the BlackBerry Q10, which features the classic QWERTY physical keyword that the company is known for. At the announcement, Heins said that the Z10 would ship first and the Q10 would follow in about eight to 10 weeks after the Z10's official launch on carriers. He felt it was more important to first launch the all-touch Z10 because it was a more complicated device and they needed to focus on releasing it first. If Heins' words are anything to go by, we're looking at a mid-May or early June U.S. debut of Q10, and that's bad news for BlackBerry because it's enough time for people to lose interest when the device hits the market. Also, Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to be unleashed around the same time and it's certain that Samsung's flagship smartphone of 2013 will grab all the attention.
There was no reason why BlackBerry couldn't launch both smartphones out of the gate, and it's no secret that BlackBerry had more than enough time on their hands to focus on releasing two smartphones with all the delays it faced with BlackBerry 10 OS debut.
The late launch of Q10 could come back and bite BlackBerry as it has the potential to make people put off purchasing the Z10 because they're waiting for the Q10. And, when the Q10 does launch, it's going to have a hard time competing with flagship smartphones that have not even been announced yet and will almost certainly trump the specs of the just announced Q10.
It's never a good idea to pre-announce a product that will not be shipping for several months. No matter how much initial hype the device generates, five months is a long time to make people wait, and the longer they wait, the more opportunity they get to jump ship and pick one of its rivals. Did anyone at BlackBerry actually look at their calendars? This could prove to be a very costly scheduling error.