On Wednesday, the company formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM) introduced the world to its brand-new and revamped BlackBerry 10 operating system. The company, now known as BlackBerry to match its flagship product, officially revealed the first two devices that will run on this overhauled software: the Z10 and Q10.
“We have definitely been on a journey of transformation,” BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said at the New York City event on Wednesday. “A journey not only to transform our business, and our brand, but one that I truly believe will transform mobile communications to mobile computing.”
For some BlackBerry fans, the Z10’s arrival comes as no surprise considering the overwhelming number of rumors that preceded its introduction. The Z10 is BlackBerry’s first self-branded modern smartphone, with a sharp 4.2-inch screen and up-to-date OS to match its sleek design.
The Q10, on the other hand, will still run BlackBerry 10 but comes equipped with the classic QUERTY keyboard that has branded BlackBerry thus far. BlackBerry has not shared any specific release information concerning the Q10, but did say the handset could hit the market in April.
The Z10 will make its debut in various markets throughout the first quarter of 2013, and launch date information for each region is outlined below.
US Release Information
BlackBerry fans in the United States will have to wait until March to get their hands on the Z10, and the phone will sell for $199 on contract and $599 unlocked, the company said.
That price point for the SIM-free version is significantly lower than previous rumors had indicated. Prior to the unveiling, a screenshot that was believed to be from UK retailer Carphone Warehouse’s inventory hinted that the Z10 could cost upward of $700, translated from £479.95.
Verizon is the only U.S. carrier that has confirmed it will carry the handset, but BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed that it will launch on all four major carriers. This is likely to include AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Although users in the U.S. will have to wait longer to get their hands on BlackBerry’s reinvented OS, they may be getting a little something extra for their patience. Verizon will be exclusively offering the white version of the Z10, the company said on Wednesday.
UK Release Information
The United Kingdom appears to be the first region to experience the new, multitasking-centric BlackBerry OS. Beginning Thursday, UK buyers will be able to purchase the Z10 through carriers EE, Vodafone, Phones 4u, BT, 3UK and Carphone Warehouse.
The news that the Z10 will debut on Jan. 31 refutes a rather convincing rumor that circulated yesterday. A reportedly leaked document from carrier Vodafone, which appeared to be an employee handsheet, said the Z10 would go on sale after 5 p.m. today, along with some other tidbits about the device.
Release Information for other markets
The newly announced Z10 will make its way to Canada on Feb. 5 for a price of $149.99 on contract. Even the United Arab Emirates will be seeing the Z10 before the U.S., as it launches just five days following Canada on Feb. 10. We haven’t heard any specific European launch dates beyond the UK, but BlackBerry seems to be introducing the Z10 to most markets in February.
BlackBerry streamed its New York City event live online this morning, and for those who missed it you can catch the whole keynote here.