BlackBerry Z10 Touchscreen Launches Today


Today is the day BlackBerry fans have been waiting for, and the moment that could make or break the Waterloo, Canada company. The new BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen launched in the US this morning, more than six weeks after it was made available to the rest of the world. The new keyboard version will not be released for another two or three months, however.

It wasn’t long ago that BlackBerry was the must-have mobile device. But once Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, BlackBerry began losing market share, and Waterloo now holds a distant third behind Cupertino and Google’s Android platform. In fact, from 2008 until 2010, BlackBerry’s US market share plummeted from 46 percent to just 2 percent. The Z10 models are a vital element in BlackBerry’s attempt to regain US market share.

You got to win here to win everywhere else,” BlackBerry CEO Thorstein Heins told the Associated Press. “That’s just the way it is. We’ve lost market share quite a bit, to put it mildly, and we absolutely need BlackBerry 10 to turn us around.

And Heins is confident the Z10 touchscreen model can do just that. He thinks Apple has lacked innovation in its recent models and the iOS user interface is outdated. Compared to the BlackBerry Z10 which allows multitasking, iPhone users can only use one application at a time. For example, when using the Z10, a user can open an email without closing another application.

It’s still the same,” Heins said of the iPhone. “It is a sequential way to work and that’s not what people want today anymore. They want multitasking.

For all its innovations, has BlackBerry waited too long to recapture a big chunk of the market? How many people who rushed out to get the iPhone 5 or the Samsung Galaxy S3 are going to drop their new phones and pay big bucks for the Z10? If they’re anything like me, new phones are chosen carefully every two years or so when an “upgrade” becomes available from their carriers, since few people can afford to pay full price for the newest models. Once that upgrade is used, it’s another two years before another new phone becomes an option in the budget.

Still, as many people claim to be on Team Apple or Team Android, there are still BlackBerry loyalists out there who prefer the physical keyboard over the touchscreen found on iPhone and most Android devices. The Z10 keyboard option launching in the next few months may be just what they’ve been waiting for.

I get more and more excited every day,” Heins said. “I really have to make sure I stay grounded and I don’t lose my sense for reality. But for the whole company this is so important to finally be here, and to see people buying it, after we were told 30 months ago when we started that two quarters down the road we would be bankrupt, we would be out of business.

[Image via Flickr/lehugofok]