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The long wait: BlackBerry’s new Q10 handset might not arrive in US until May

RIM BlackBerry Q10 (front)

Check our full review of the BlackBerry Q10 phone.

BlackBerry’s new Q10 smartphone – that’s the one with the physical keyboard – might not hit stores in the US until May, or possibly even later, the company’s boss said in an interview this week. Meanwhile, the device is expected to launch in other countries in April.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins told the Associated Press that the Q10 will probably arrive in the US around eight to ten weeks after the Z10, which is expected to become available around the middle of March. The Z10 is already on sale in the UK and Canada.

The delays are the result of particularly rigorous testing procedures of handsets by US-based carriers.

The delay is a serious issue for BlackBerry, which wanted to hit the ground running with its new BB10 platform following its glitzy global launch event last week.

The company needs the new platform to succeed if it’s to once again become a major player in the cut-throat smartphone market. Winning back a chunk of its user base in the US is of vital importance for the Ontario-based mobile maker – American consumers’ uptake of the iPhone and Android devices saw BlackBerry’s share of the US market dive from 46 percent in 2008 to a mere 2 percent four years later.

Heins addmitted he was frustrated with the late US launch dates of the Z10 and Q10 handsets, saying, “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.”

The new Z10 smartphone has reportedly been selling well in the UK, with pre-orders in Canada – where the phone became available on Tuesday – described as “higher than for any other BlackBerry before” by a spokesperson for Canadian carrier Bell. The device will go on sale in the United Arab Emirates next week.

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