BlackBerry Q10 won't land stateside until May or June

Old-school BlackBerry users in the United States will have to wait a few more months to get their hands on the new BlackBerry Q10 and its physical keyboard.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins told the Associated Press that the U.S. version of the Q10 will launch eight to 10 weeks after its full-touchscreen counterpart, the Z10. U.S. wireless carriers plan to sell the Z10 in March, so it's looking like a mid-May to early June launch for the keyboard-equipped Q10.

The BlackBerry Z10 is already available in the United Kingdom, and the Q10 is launching around the world in April. The delay in the United States, Heins said, comes down to the rigid testing system required by wireless carriers.

“We need to respect that,” Heins told the AP. “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.”

As for specific wireless carrier plans, Verizon and AT&T both pledge to sell both the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10. Sprint has committed to selling the Q10, but not its full-touchscreen Z10 sibling. T-Mobile has said that it will only sell the Z10.

So far, only Verizon has put a price tag on either of the two new BlackBerry phones, saying the Z10 will cost $200 with a two-year contract. None of the four major U.S. carriers have announced specific release dates for either of the new BlackBerry phones.

The good news for BlackBerry—whose company name was Research in Motion until last week—is that the Z10 is doing well out of the gate. The phone has sold out at some U.K. retailers, and analysts said pre-orders in other countries have been strong.

Heins described sales as “beyond expectations,” and believes that a “substantial number of users” are moving from other platforms to BlackBerry. Critical response has been lukewarm, with Z10 reviews praising the fast on-screen keyboard, powerful enterprise features, and modern feel of the BlackBerry 10 software, but bemoaning weak battery life, subpar camera photos, and a lack of apps compared to other platforms.

Updated February 7 with a video report.

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