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3/13/2013
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BlackBerry Z10 U.S. Launch Prepped

AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to announce a firm launch date for the BlackBerry Z10.

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
AT&T started accepting preorders for the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone on March 12. The device will hit AT&T's retail stores, website, and enterprise sales channels on March 22, making AT&T the first to officially launch the comeback smartphone from BlackBerry in the U.S.

AT&T is selling the Z10 for $199.99 with a new contract. The no-commitment price for the Z10 is $549.99. About the only feature that differentiates AT&T's Z10 from those offered by T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless is support for its LTE 4G network. Otherwise, the AT&T Z10 offers all the same specs and services found on other variants.

Verizon Wireless announced in January that it would sell the Z10 for $199.99 too, but it has yet to announce availability. T-Mobile USA has announced neither pricing nor availability of its Z10. Sprint, meanwhile, is skipping the Z10 and will offer only the QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry Q10 later this year. Sprint has offered no specific details regarding the Q10's launch. (If you're impatient and slightly nuts, you can buy the Z10 today from MVNO Solavei, which recently dropped the price of the Z10 from $999 to $649. Solavei offers no-contract service using T-Mobile USA's network.)

The Z10 is already available in some markets, including Canada and the U.K., where reports suggest initial sales have been decent. BlackBerry itself has been tight-lipped about actual device sales, though it touts them as above expectations. It's probably safe to assume that since BlackBerry has not made any splashy announcements regarding specific sales figures, the device has yet to reach one million units sold.

[ Is your Blackberry running out of juice? Check out these tips. Blackberry Z10 Battery Life Tips. ]

Analyst projections for the Z10 have been all over the map. The latest comes from BlueFin's Paul Peterson, who wrote, that "it appears that management is confident that the BB10 launches will be an unqualified success" because it upped component orders for the Z10. "Our checks indicate that some suppliers are seeing 6-month order coverage that is several orders of magnitude larger than the previous 6 months," continued Peterson, "with some suppliers believing that they can get back to 2011 revenue levels if the present forecast levels hold up."

BlackBerry is talking about its successful approach to enterprise adoption of BlackBerry 10, the Z10, and BES 10. In a blog post, BlackBerry says some 4,400 businesses in North America have registered for the BlackBerry 10 Ready Offer.

The BlackBerry 10 Ready Program is meant to help BlackBerry's enterprise customers gain the knowledge and tools they need to deploy BlackBerry 10 and BES 10 in their respective businesses. Some of those businesses include Air Canada, McCain Foods, Ricoh Canada and Softchoice.

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