Rumor: BlackBerry Z10 poised for March 22 release with AT&T

blackberry-z10-1While the new BlackBerry Z10 has gone on sale in many other countries, where fans are already enjoying BlackBerry 10, the faithful in the U.S. have had to wait, and with no official release date provided, the wait has been a frustrating one. However, two anonymous sources have informed the team at Bloomberg that the Z10 is poised for a March 22 release with AT&T. Extended testing times with U.S. carriers are to be blamed for the delay in BlackBerry 10’s launch.

When the new OS and hardware was announced, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint all confirmed at least one of the new phones would be offered for sale, although Sprint has taken the unusual step of only stocking the QWERTY-keyboard equipped BlackBerry Q10. Its competitors may see the touchscreen Z10 as the more fashionable option, but the Q10 may turn out to be the dark horse in BlackBerry’s relaunch campaign.

Verizon has bagged a white version of the Z10 for itself, and both it and AT&T will offer the Z10 with 4G LTE connectivity. As for T-Mobile, it has put up an official page for the Z10 on its website, which confirms it will be one of the first devices to use its 4G network.

The March 22 date, which has not been confirmed by AT&T or BlackBerry, does sound realistic, as a mid-March date was suggested at the global launch event in January. This only applies to the Z10 though, as the Q10 may not arrive until May according to recent rumors. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has gone on record saying he is frustrated by the wait to get the new phones into the hands of U.S. customers, but has said the firm is, “Working with all our carrier partners to speed it up as much as we can.”

It can’t happen soon enough either, as recent ComScore market stats put BlackBerry in third position in the U.S. regarding smartphone OS market share, but Microsoft is close behind. Regardless of what Microsoft execs may tell us, these two have quite a battle ahead of them over the coming year, and it won’t start in earnest until BlackBerry 10 goes on sale.