Will BlackBerry's delayed 'Z10' bear fruit?

The chief of BlackBerry's parent firm, Research In Motion, says that early sales data show that the new make-or-break handset is exceeding expectations in the UK.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

It’s been a pretty turbulent year for the self-proclaimed ‘inventor of the smartphone’, after computer issues in Slough meant that the phone’s BBM messenger service was out of action for millions of customers around the world. 

But BlackBerry has now announced its new handset, the Z10, with a new operating system (just called ‘10’), and there have been a healthy number of pre-orders in the UK. Unfortunately though, the handset is not yet available in the much larger and potentially more lucrative US market.

Thorsten Heins said: ‘Am I a bit disappointed? Yeah I would be lying saying no. But it is what it is and we’re working with all our carrier partners to speed it up as much as we can.’

The problem is that the US mobile phone carriers have an extremely stringent testing system that the phone will have to be assessed by, before it can be shipped.

But, he said, in the UK: ‘It’s beyond expectations. [The white handset] is sold out already. The black is hard to stock up again. It’s very encouraging. I won’t share the number because I need to verify it, but we are getting a substantial number of users moving from other platforms to BlackBerry. That is an interesting data point.’

That sounds suspiciously like a jargonese press briefing to us. And, Blackberry’s European MD, Stephen Bates, has certainly been guilty of that in recent days. In two separate interviews with the BBC, he failed to answer any questions about how BlackBerry had lost market share in recent years, and whether the firm had learned any lessons from the iPhone. Check out the video below:

Still, initial reviews of the new model sound reasonably positive, and if the pre-orders are any indication of sales figures to come, BlackBerry could be the comeback kid of 2013…

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