BlackBerry Z10 Launches At AT&T, No One Cares

By Slav Kandyba , Mar 22, 2013 06:08 PM EDT
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The BlackBerry Z10 is finally making its much anticipated U.S. debut today with AT&T, and will be available on Verizon and T-Mobile next week. Initial reactions from customers, however, appear to be rather lukewarm.

USA Today surveyed a number of consumers and, while some appeared enthused, others were ambivalent toward the new device. The device also received unfavorable reviews in the media, including the Los Angeles Times. As result, BlackBerry shares fell 7.7 percent to $14.91, the biggest drop in a month. Before today's drop, the stock had climbed 36 percent this year, Bloomberg reports

One current BlackBerry owner pointed out the touchscreen wasn't an attractive feature in the smartphone best known for its mainstay QWERTY keyboard, which will be included in the BlackBerry Q10 slated for release later this year. 

Stacey Sanner of Seattle told USA Today, "if I'm gonna go buttonless, I might as well go iPhone. I use a Mac and an iPad so it's time they all talked to each other! This way I can sync contacts and calendar, things people have been doing for years."

Another consumer, Mike Wilson, founder of a film and game production company in Austin, Texas, said he was interested in Z10's new features, including the camera — but not the touchscreen.

"I think they did themselves in for good by going to touchscreen only," Wilson said. "Tactile buttons are absolutely, undeniably better for email and text, and I think they could have kept a lot of their corporate army by just keeping that one thing."

Some BlackBerry faithful are even considering camping outside a store to get their hands on the Z10. Jamie Hersh-White told USA Today she may do that to "feel the excitement."

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins marked the U.S. sales debut of the Z10 Thursday night at a theater in New York's Times Square. The event featured performances by rapper Ludacris and R&B singer Janelle Monae.

The BlackBerry Z10 will be offered by T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless late next week, while Sprint has not announced plans to carry the device.

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