It’s been a long wait, but the company formerly known as RIM has finally released its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone in the U.S. Available starting today for AT&T, the BlackBerry Z10 costs $199 with a two-year contract. The phone is expected to hit Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile some time next week.
The Z10 is a major milestone for BlackBerry, which needs the phone to be a hit in order to regain market share in the hotly contested smartphone market.
Prior to the smartphone’s launch, BlackBerry announced its revamped Blackberry World app store had accumulated 100,000 apps. While the company reached that mark far faster than either Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play store, it’s worth noting that BlackBerry’s store is populated by many re-purposed Android apps, as well as BB 10 exclusives.
One of the biggest issues facing BlackBerry is the timing of its launch. With Samsung’s recent unveiling of the Galaxy S4 and HTC’s upcoming release of its new HTC One superphone, much of the momentum in the smartphone market is leaning toward Android devices. And then there’s rumored iPhone 5S, which is expected to come to market later this year.
BlackBerry certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it, but for today the company can celebrate the fact that it’s BlackBerry 10 device is finally reaching consumers’ hands.