The BlackBerry Q10 is coming. Soon.
T-Mobile, which has been accepting preorders since May 14, will have the Q10 smartphone in stores June 5, for $99.99 down and 24 monthly payments of $20 to customers who qualify.
Verizon Wireless began taking pre-orders for the Q10 May 30, promising shipment by June 6. It's selling the phone for $199.99 with a new two-year service contract.
AT&T will also soon begin selling the long-awaited first BlackBerry 10 device with a physical QWERTY keyboard. On May 14, AT&T put out a Coming Soon page, and a spokesperson confirmed that the Q10 will be available this summer.
Sprint also plans to sell it "this summer."
June, or beyond, is a far cry from the "sometime in April" timeframe promised during the Q10's January introduction. But BlackBerry, and the carriers that have gotten behind it, has its fingers crossed that the BlackBerry faithful will hang in there and that new users—if such a thing exists, when it comes to a QWERTY device—along with the BlackBerry devoted will find the wait was worth it.
The phone went on sale abroad weeks ago. The Car Phone Warehouse in Selfridges & Co. was the first U.K. retailer to sell the Q10, and according to Seeking Alpha contributor Michael Collins, sales were phenomenal. CPW moved roughly 2,000 phones, or 22.2 Q10 units per minute, according to Collins.
BlackBerry has been quiet on the phone's sales performance to date.
With the touch-screen-based Z10, BlackBerry was going after Type-A consumers—hard-working, multitasking types to whom the platform's efficient design would appeal. A week after launch, BlackBerry confirmed that in Canada, the Z10 was its best launch to date, and in the U.K., sales were nearly three times that of its best-ever sales week.
The Q10 is geared for longtime lovers of the BlackBerry keyboard. The sales BlackBerry sees will be indicative of its users' intention to carry on with it, as millions of others have converted to iPhones or Android devices.
Aside from its keyboard and 3.1-inch Super AMOLED display, the Q10 features many of the same specs as the Z10. Both support 4G and HSPA+ connectivity for global roaming, have 8-megapixel rear cameras and 2-megapixel models on the front, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of flash memory, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, GPS, 4G mobile hotspot capabilities, voice control and more.
The Q10 of course also features all the BlackBerry 10 perks, including the Hub—a single place to see all new conversations and messages, whether voicemails, emails, text messages or more—BlackBerry Balance, for separating corporate email and apps from personal ones, and BBM Video with Screen Share, which enables the person you're video calling with to see on their screen what you see on yours, whether to show off photos or point out changes to a document.
It pulls ahead of the Z10 on battery life, offering 13.5 hours of 3G talk time (versus 10 hours) and 14.8 days of 3G standby time (versus 12.7). Both can offer up to 60 hours of music playback.
During BlackBerry's March 28 earnings call, CEO Thorsten Heins announced that the company had posted a profit during its last quarter and shipped approximately 1 million Z10 units. Regarding the Q10, he said it was testing with 40 carriers in 20 countries.
"Enterprises are extremely hot on getting the Q10," said Heins. "There are some die-hard keyboard lovers out there."