Would you switch carriers to get a BlackBerry Z10?Evan Selleck - Contributing Editor
The fine folks at BlackBerry would like us to believe that their new mobile operating system, BlackBerry 10, supported by the equally brand-spanking-new BlackBerry Z10, are doing quite well. Selling better than expected, even! The device is only available across the pond and Canada right now, but so far it seems pretty promising for the company that everyone agreed was down-and-out not too long ago.
Of course, we’re still waiting to see the launch here in the United States. We are a handful of days into March, and for anyone who’s been marking down their calendar in anticipation of “sometime in March,” the days are getting harder to handle. Early rumors suggested that BlackBerry could launch their new handset and OS in late March, perhaps around March 27, but since then we’ve heard that it could be sooner. Two weeks sooner, in fact.
We first heard it from T-Mobile. The Magenta carrier came out and said that they’d like to be the first US-based carrier to carry the new handset from BlackBerry. According to the carrier, the BlackBerry Z10 turned out to be more stable than they imagined, so testing on the network was going faster than expected. The result? T-Mobile believes they could launch the Z10 up to two weeks early. Which means, as of the time of this writing, T-Mobile could let loose the dogs of BlackBerry by the end of next week, if everything is still going according to plan.
That’s exciting news – if you’re a subscriber on T-Mobile. For the rest of the population not under the Magenta umbrella, it means more waiting. Watching another carrier launch the handset you so desperately want to get your hands on.
Though, it could be worse. You could be on a carrier that’s just up and choosing which device you want, long before you’re able to even think about buying it. We’re speaking of Sprint, now. The Now Network, back at the beginning of March (as if that were so long ago, right?), went on the record –thanks to spokesman Mark Elliott—and confirmed that the Z10 wouldn’t be launching on Sprint at all. Instead, they’d be focusing on the QWERTY-packing Q10.
“We aren’t saying there’s anything different about our customers. We think our customers will be happy with the qwerty keyboard and touch screen on the Q10,” Mark Elliott said.
I don’t think there’s anything different about Sprint customers, either. I would imagine that many of them would like to have a choice, just like any other person on any other carrier. Even if all of them went for the Q10 over the Z10, at least they had a chance to get the other handset. Then again, Sprint may have only wanted to carry one new BlackBerry 10-based device, and considering the past and BlackBerry’s track record with physical keyboards (and all touchscreen devices, for that matter), they went for what would be considered “the safe bet.”
Besides, the Q10 is a pretty awesome device. So, there’s that.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t just T-Mobile that seems excited to get BlackBerry 10 on their roster. A recent report suggested that AT&T could actually be racing to beat T-Mobile to the first place spot, pointing to a March 15 release date of their own. (I’m suggesting AT&T could be first, but it’s not impossible that BlackBerry would love to see the device launched at the same time on both carriers. Win-win.) If T-Mobile isn’t able to get their testing finalized in time for their own early release, or even just a week later, it would mean AT&T was able to swoop in and run with the momentum carried over from Europe and Canada.
I’m pretty optimistic that BlackBerry 10 will make a pretty sizable splash here in our neck of the woods. Sure, I think the platform needs to focus on quality apps, but that’s just something that will take time. It will come, but we need to have patience. And, if I’m looking at our Official Smartphone Rankings correctly, it looks like the BlackBerry Z10 has caught plenty of your attention as it sits all high and mighty at the top of the list. It looks to me like all of you are ready to be patient, and willing to wait for more apps just so you can get your fingers on some awesome gestures.
So here’s my question to you, especially if T-Mobile or AT&T are able to get their branded devices out in the market before the other: Would you be willing to switch carriers to get your hands on the device as soon as possible? Or, if you’re on Sprint, just to get your mitts on the Z10 at all? Are you cosnidering the Z10 over Samsung's Galaxy S IV, or HTC's One? Let me know if you’d be willing to jump carriers to support BlackBerry’s newest mobile OS.