Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10 - InformationWeek

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09:12 AM

Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10

Sprint confirms it will only offer the BlackBerry Q10, which has a physical QWERTY keyboard.

BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Sprint has confirmed that it will not offer the BlackBerry Z10, the smartphone maker's new flagship device. Instead, Sprint will offer only the Q10, which includes many of the same features of the Z10, but replaces the large touch screen with a smaller display and a physical QWERTY keyboard.

"We aren't saying there's anything different about our customers," said Sprint spokesperson Mark J Elliott in an interview with Bloomberg. "We think our customers will be happy with the QWERTY keyboard and touch screen on the Q10."

The two devices share most specs and features, which include dual-core 1.5-GHz processors with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of built-in storage. They each include an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture. The camera application includes a new feature called TimeShift, which lets users select from a range of photos to get the best one. The Z10 and Q10 also include user-facing 2-megapixel cameras that can record 720p HD video. The devices support NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

[ The basic question: Is The BlackBerry 10 Right For You? ]

Here's what defines the two phones: The Z10 has a 4.2-inch LCD screen with 1280 x 768 pixels, making it capable of displaying HD content. The Q10 has a physical QWERTY keyboard and a smaller touchscreen that has 720 x 720 pixels. The Q10 resembles the BlackBerries of old, such as the Bold or the Curve.

Sprint may not be selling the Z10, but its competitors sure are. AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have all committed to launching the Z10 this month. Pricing is expected to be $199. AT&T is the only other carrier that has committed to offering the Q10.

Sprint's move betrays its cautious approach to new platforms and devices. It is clearly favoring Android and iOS hardware to BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

Consider, Sprint has not sold a new Windows Phone device since January 2011. The launch of Windows Phone 8 last fall did not convince the nation's third-largest carrier that it can sell smartphones with Microsoft's platform on board. During the same period, Sprint committed $20 billion (yes, with a "B") on the Apple iPhone. A similar financial figure isn't available for Sprint's commitment to the Google Android platform, but given that the bulk of its devices run Android it is sure to be sizable.

Sprint's prudence here could backfire -- or save its skin. It's three biggest competitors are launching the Z10 in mere weeks. Analysts and investors are looking to the Z10's launch in the U.S. to provide a better gauge for the platform's long-term success. To-date, it is only available in a few markets, and sales figures aren't reliable. If the Z10 is a roaring success with U.S. buyers, then perhaps Sprint can look forward to good sales of the Q10 when it goes on sale. If the Z10 tanks, however, Sprint may have time to scale back orders and trim any potential losses.

Sprint has not said when the Q10 will go on sale, only to say it will be available "later this year."

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User Rank: Ninja
3/5/2013 | 11:53:52 AM
re: Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10
This is one more example that the cell phone market is broken beyond repair. It is a throwback to the Bell phone times where you either went with Bell or went with Bell and got the phone, even if it was technology from decades ago.
What we need is a complete separation from phone sales and service sales. Customers buy the phone (or rent/lease it) and then shop around for the plan they want. So if someone wants the Z10 and Sprint, there you go. Of course, this requires all network providers to use compatible systems and ideally frequency bands that are common across the globe rather than the shifted US specials, but the effort might not be worth the savings of simpler radios in the smartphones.
Once smartphone makers have to sell directly to customers and not rely on network operators to do the business for them the entire market will get a new pace. Lock ins and limited phone selections would be a thing of the past.
User Rank: Strategist
3/5/2013 | 12:20:00 AM
re: Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10
I agree IsMark. It is the consumers choice, not the vendor. We left Verizon because they dragged their feet with Windows phones, only offering the Trophy for 12-18 months. We had Trophy's, they were good, but could not compete with the Windows phones AT&T offered at the same period of time, and AT&T was upgrading their phone lineup more than once in the 18 months. Verizon was too hung up on only wanting 4G phones in their lineup, and Windows only had 3G at that time. Verizon is also very slow (i.e. 6 months or more) to qualify a new phone, AT&T gets them out in weeks. We dropped Verizon after repeated meetings with Business Sales and a conference call with Microsoft to find out what their problem was. Now have over 40 phones from AT&T, all Nokia 900 or 920. Verizon shot themselves in the foot. They were more interested in selling us an iPhone or iPad, which did not meet our corporate needs. Originally left Blackberry for Win 7 Trophy, then Verizon ran out of options.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 8:07:12 PM
re: Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10
Another article title could be 'Sprint Needs to Unload iPhones Before Selling Z10', they're stuck with a ton of merchandise and slowing iphone sales.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/4/2013 | 5:06:42 PM
re: Sprint To Skip BlackBerry Z10
If I was a Sprint customer and wanted a Z10 this would be unacceptable, especially when every other major carrier will carry the Z10. If I were BB this would be unacceptable....I'd tell Sprint you either carry both phones like everyone else or no Q10.

Furthermore, 1/3 to 1/2 of current Z10 sales are coming from former iphone and S3 users....and their also giving the Z10 better reviews over their old devices. It makes NO SENSE for Sprint to not carry a phone that is better than what they are currently providing and LOSE business.

I think BB should play hard ball with Sprint and say no Q10. Sure the lack of sales will hurt, but they are going to see more sales with the Z10 anyways. I think Sprint would eventually relent if BB demanded they carry the Z10....Sprint could potentially lose hundreds of thousands of customers who are seeking the new BB10 os.
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