By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 15, 2013 10:01 AM EDT
The long-awaited BlackBerry Z10 flagship smartphone is now up for pre-order on not one, but two major U.S. mobile carriers, for $200 with a two-year contract.
The new BlackBerry Z10 is now available on both AT&T and Verizon. Both networks will offer the black version of the all-touch BlackBerry handset, while Verizon also has an exclusive white version to offer.
AT&T kicked off pre-orders on Tuesday, March 12, while Verizon started taking pre-orders on Thursday, March 14. As previously mentioned, a two-year contract will make the handset available with a $200 price tag. AT&T will get the smartphone on March 22, followed by Verizon on March 28.
In recent years, BlackBerry — formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM) — watched its market share and relevance slip away to the likes of Apple's iPhone and then a plethora of Android devices. BlackBerry fans gradually shifted to competing iOS or Android devices, leaving RIM out in the cold, struggling to regain its relevance. The company is betting big on the BlackBerry 10 (BB10) operating system and BB10 handsets such as the BlackBerry Z10 to turn things around.
To better compete with the iPhone and Android, BlackBerry reconsidered its position and loaded its latest flagship handset with a brand new touch-centric OS, the BB10. The company loaded the latest OS on the BlackBerry Z10, which sports a 4.2-inch display with a 1,280 x 768 resolution. Other appealing offers the BB10 and Z10 have to offer include a content marketplace oozing with apps, movies, TV shows and music, a highly-praised software keyboard, video calls over BlackBerry Messenger and some new camera features such as making a composite photo out of multiple shots.
BlackBerry did not forget about the business side of things, and the Z10 and BB10 include essential enterprise features to cater to the large businesses that make up the core of BlackBerry's customer base. The difference is that BlackBerry wanted to make the Z10 appealing to consumers as well, not just businesses. To combine the two, the Z10 is also suitable for the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work trend.
On Thursday, March 14, BlackBerry also announced a new update for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. The new software is called Secure Work Space and aims to separate data for work and play on Android and iOS BYOD devices. The new software will be available separately as an update to BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. The company recently started a closed beta test with enterprise and government customers, but the software will become generally available by the end of June. BlackBerry has yet to announce pricing for the Secure Work Space software.
The new BB10 OS and BlackBerry Z10 flagship may not boost the company back to being the top smartphone maker in the U.S., but it may help it maintain a third spot behind Android and iOS. Microsoft's Windows Phone is the only real competitor for the Z10, but it has even fewer fans in the U.S. than BlackBerry.
Having the BlackBerry Z10 finally available for pre-order on two major U.S. carriers — AT&T and Verizon — is a major step forward for the company, and wider availability will likely follow shortly. Other major carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile have yet to detail their BlackBerry plans. T-Mobile says it will offer the Z10, while Sprint only said it will carry the QWERTY BlackBerry Q10. Meanwhile, earlier reports suggested that BlackBerry could unleash up to six BB10 handsets this year, and Sprint will carry a yet unannounced smartphone set to launch this summer.
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