BlackBerry, formerly Research In Motion, has begun selling its new flagship device, the Z10, in Canada today, shortly after the device's launch in the U.K. last week. The device has been available for preorder from Canadian carriers for several weeks now, and apparently there have been enough orders and interest so far that the company's executives are "encouraged" by the launch.
Still, though, the BlackBerry brand has lost much of its luster, and market share, in recent years to the likes of the iPhone and top-selling Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III. As such, even at the busy downtown Toronto Eaton Centre mall, there were only a handful of people lined up outside of the Telus shop.
In fact, of the four shoppers, only three were there to look at the Z10, while the other was waiting to buy an iPhone.
According to a sales representative at the store, the location was given 20 Z10s, while an Apple launch would see close to 100 iPhones on hand.
More fanfare was provided at the Rogers flagship downtown Toronto location as the wireless provider partnered with BlackBerry for the launch of the Z10. In fact, the Rogers location sold one of the first BlackBerry Z10s in North America.
"It's great to be able to continue to offer our customers more choice and more innovation as the smartphone ecosystem evolves," said Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO at Rogers Communications, in a statement. "Rogers and BlackBerry share a rich history, and together, delivered the first BlackBerry in Canada over 10 years ago. Today, it's exciting to build on this history and be among the first to offer our customers the new BlackBerry Z10 experience."
It's obviously too early to say how the all-touch Z10 will fare, but it's possible long-time BlackBerry devotees may be turned off by its lack of the trademark BlackBerry keyboard. Fortunately, those holding out for the keyboard-toting Q10 need only wait until later this year for its release.
Edited by Braden Becker