BlackBerry customers in the U.S. awaiting the new Q10 smartphone may have a long wait ahead of them.
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins told the Associated Press this week that the Q10 phone, which offers a traditional physical keyboard, will probably launch eight to 10 weeks after the debut of the virtual keyboard Z10 model. The Z10 is already available in the U.K. and Canada, but likely won't hit the shores of the U.S. until March.
Doing the math, that points to a May or June launch date for the Q10, at least in the U.S. Other parts of the world are likely to see it sooner. Heins placed some responsibility for the time frame on the carriers, saying they had to do the necessary testing to determine if the delay could be shortened.
The CEO also expressed disappointment that the Z10 won't arrive in the U.S. until next month. Again he pointed the finger at the carriers, telling the AP that U.S. carriers have a "rigid testing system." Still, he added that BlackBerry is working with all of its carrier partners to try to speed up the process as much as possible.
BlackBerry can't afford to wait too long to hit the lucrative U.S. market.
Along with most other smartphone makers, the company has been pummeled by heated competition from Apple and Android. BlackBerry is hoping its new BB10 operating system and devices will help it stage a comeback.
So far, the Z10 is off to a good start in the U.K. and Canada, according to Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. In an investors note out Monday, Misek said that the phone was seeing "robust demand" and was actually sold out at some retailers.
Other analysts are more cautiously optimistic. GMP Securities analyst Deepak Kaushal believes the Z10 will win over existing BlackBerry customers but isn't likely to convince other smartphone users to switch.