AT&T will begin offering preorders of the BlackBerry Z10 from March 12, with the BlackBerry 10 smartphone itself shipping from March 22, though you’ll need to stump up a hefty $199.99 in order to jump on-board. New and existing personal customers will be offered the phone first, with business users and in-store sales waiting until later this month.
The Z10 will use AT&T’s LTE network, for faster download speeds, but early-adopters of the new BlackBerry 10 platform will have to stomach the usual two-year commitment and a price more commonly associated with a new iPhone or top-tier Android device. That could be overly-ambitious for AT&T and BlackBerry, with the Z10 decidedly occupying the “challenger” category right now.
As we found in our review, the Z10 does some things well – the screen is good, and the software is a significant improvement over BlackBerry 7 – but it also falls short in places. Mediocre low-light camera performance has in part been addressed by a recent firmware update, but the handset also has middling design and build quality in comparison to, say, Apple’s phone.
Still, AT&T isn’t the only carrier to have high expectations for what BlackBerry fans might pay. Verizon confirmed some time ago that it would be offering the Z10 this month, also pricing it at $199.99 with a new, two-year agreement. T-Mobile, meanwhile, will begin sales to business customers from today.