By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 30, 2013 10:20 AM EDT
The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones are now available directly to U.S. customers via BlackBerry's online store, likely in a bid to attract more customers and boost sales.
BlackBerry has faced some serious financial problems over the past few months, and the recently-reported fiscal results for the second quarter were nearly catastrophic for the company.
It now seems that the Canadian company is looking to boost sales of its BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones by offering them directly to customers via its online store.
Carriers and other partners, meanwhile, seem to have lost faith in BlackBerry and have discounted the devices on several occasions. According to a new N4BB report, the company's move to start selling the handsets itself should help BlackBerry's current situation, which is pretty dark.
Both the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10 handsets are now available unlocked, without any carrier commitment required. The all-touch BlackBerry Z10 comes with a $449 price tag while the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 is a bit more expensive at $549. Both BlackBerry 10 (BB10) OS smartphones are available in black or white color options.
Both the BlackBerry Q10 and the BlackBerry Z10 have been available through all four major U.S. carriers - AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The latter, however, reportedly plans to get rid of all BB10 smartphones from its stores and make them available only online. This decision is reportedly due to poor sales of the two handsets.
The BlackBerry Z10 in particular has cost the company a small fortune. When it unveiled its fiscal results for the second quarter, BlackBerry blamed a $935 million hit it took on the BlackBerry Z10, justifying it as a "Z10 Inventory Charge."
After such disappointing financial performance, BlackBerry has decided to lay off 4,500 employees and release only four smartphones instead of six next year. The company has also said it would back off the consumer market and focus on enterprise instead.
In more bad news, the company's manufacturing partner, Jabil Circuit, is considering its options to break all ties with the ailing BlackBerry, according to a recent AllThingsD report.
So far, BlackBerry has introduced five smartphones in 2013 - the Z10, the Q10, the Q5 and the newly-announced Z30. Recent reports have also indicated that a new handset dubbed Kopi is in the pipeline, but it remains uncertain whether it will make its debut this year or in 2014.
The recently-launched BlackBerry Z30 is the company's latest attempt to stay relevant in today's tough smartphone market, but it remains to be seen whether it will be successful or it will go down the same path as the ill-fated BlackBerry Z10.
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