Monday, March 11, 2013

AT&T confirms launch date for BlackBerry Z10, pre-orders begin tomorrow

AT&T has confirmed the rumored launch date for the BlackBerry Z10. As was reported just a few days ago, the Z10 will hit AT&T retail stores on March 22.

There is new information, though: Pre-orders will begin on March 12. Pricing is finally available, too, with the savior to the once dominant BlackBerry (nee Research in Motion, RIM) to cost $199 with a two-year contract.

The BlackBerry Z10 is the first smartphone to launch with the company's new BlackBerry 10 software. Both the device and the platform were launched at the end of January, with the keyboarded BlackBerry Q10 set to follow in a few months. The AT&T Z10 will be the first consumer launch of the device in the U.S. (T-Mobile just began selling to business customers); it will also be the first BlackBerry device of any type to operate over AT&T's 4G LTE network.

T-Mobile's business customers can pick up the Z10 for $249 on a Classic plan.  The company said it would announce consumer Z10 pricing and plans at a later date.

The Z10 has a 4.2-inch display with a screen resolution of 768 x 1280 pixels and a pixel density of 355 ppi (Apple calls screens with a ppi of 326 or greater Retina). It has a 1.5Ghz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an Adreno 225 GPU and a 2 GB RAM.

The Z10 also has an 8 MP rear-facing camera with autofocus and a 2 MP front-facing camera. It sports 16GB of internal storage and a microSD slot.

In addition to AT&T and T-Mobile, Verizon plans to carry the Z10. Sprint, however, plans to eschew the Z10, and instead sell only the Q10, which carries BlackBerry's iconic keyboard.

The Z10's timing places it against other top-of-the-line devices, including the recently released HTC One and the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S IV.  The Z10 and Q10 are considered make-or-break devices for the company.

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