Will the latest from Samsung steal Blackberry's thunder in the U.S.?
David Friend, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 11, 2013 10:42AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 11, 2013 1:50PM EDT
The launch of BlackBerry's new smartphones in the United States -- lagging its debut in several countries -- will run directly into hype for another device from one of the company's biggest competitors.
Samsung is expected to unveil the latest version of its top-selling Galaxy smartphone series in New York on Thursday, just days before the new BlackBerry Z10 becomes available through wireless carriers AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile.
Smartphone buyers could soon been asking themselves, should I go with the new BlackBerry or the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4?
The clash of the two phones could serve as another challenge for the Waterloo, Ont.-based company, which hoped an early 2013 launch would ensure the BlackBerry Z10 had breathing space before other new phones hit stores later this year, including an expected new iPhone from Apple.
Though details of the new Samsung phone won't be revealed until Thursday, rumours suggest it will be slightly larger than its earlier version. Another rumour is that it will feature technology that tracks the user's eye and automatically scrolls through a website at the same pace as the user is reading the page.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 is expected to be released sometime later this spring, which would still give BlackBerry some breathing space. Further details are expected from Samsung during an event at Radio City Music Hall in New York on Thursday evening.
On Monday, AT&T Inc. said it would begin presales of the BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone on Tuesday, leading up to an official release on March 22. The company says the phone will sell for US$199.99 under a two-year contract.
Fellow U.S. carrier T-Mobile said it will carry the BlackBerry device for its business customers as soon as the end of this week, though it did not have details on the availability for non-business customers.
The keyboard version of the new BlackBerrys still does not have an official release date in any country.
Shares of BlackBerry (TSX:BB) gained 10 per cent, or $1.33, to $14.76 in early afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
A perceived success in the U.S. smartphone market is considered key to the new BlackBerrys. The U.S. is where Apple's iPhone is most dominant and where Android smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 are gaining traction.
The new BlackBerry device has already been made available in the U.S. by Solavei, a smaller no-contract carrier, for about $1,000.