New BlackBerry 10 to be released in US in mid-March

Feb 06 2013, 00:02 IST
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There's concern the phone isn't coming out sooner after RIM announced a March U.S. release date last week.  (Reuters) There's concern the phone isn't coming out sooner after RIM announced a March U.S. release date last week. (Reuters)
SummaryThere's concern the phone isn't coming out sooner after RIM announced a March U.S. release date last week.

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,'' Heins said in Monday's interview at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto, ahead of Tuesday's debut of the touch-only model in Canada.

RIM unveiled new BlackBerrys last week after excruciating delays allowed Apple, Samsung and others to build commanding leads in the industry. The stock fell 12 percent after Wednesday's kickoff, despite mostly favorable reviews about the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. There's concern the phone isn't coming out sooner than the March date for the U.S. announced last week.

Black and white versions of the touch-screen Z10 were released in the U.K. last Thursday and in Canada on Tuesday.

Heins said early data suggests a substantial number of U.K. users are moving from other platforms to BlackBerry, even though RIM initially targeted longtime BlackBerry users.

"It's beyond expectations,'' Heins said. ``White 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.''

In Canada, telecom provider Bell said advance orders for the Z10 exceeded that of any previous BlackBerry model. ``We're seeing intense interest today,'' Bell spokesman Mark Langton said. ``Sales are quite robust.''

RIM's stock increased nearly 8 percent to $16.15 in midday trading Tuesday after closing up 15 percent Monday following initial reports of strong U.K. sales and an upgrade of the stock by an analyst.

Heins said the company would have to regain market share in the U.S. for BlackBerry to be successful. The U.S. has been one market in which RIM has been particularly hurting, even as the company is doing well in many places overseas. According to research firm IDC, shipments of BlackBerry phones plummeted from 46 percent of the U.S. market in 2008 to 2 percent in 2012. The iPhone and Android now dominate.

Heins, who one year ago replaced longtime executives who had presided over BlackBerry's fall, said he's confident BlackBerry can become the third ecosystem behind the iPhone and Android.

"We need to win back market share to be relevant,'' Heins said. ``We have to be aggressive in the U.S. market.''

To send a message that the BlackBerry is back, RIM ran an

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