BlackBerry Z10 to hit AT&T stores on March 22, report says

BlackBerry is hoping that the touch screen-equipped Z10 smartphone will spark the its long-awaited turnaround.

This BlackBerry Z10 mixes secure, encrypted work tasks with ordinary personal use by using a security chip made by Secusmart.
The BlackBerry Z10. Stephen Shankland/CNET

BlackBerry will put its flagship BlackBerry Z10 smartphone on sale on March 22 through AT&T, according to Bloomberg.

That will be the first day that the Z10 hits the U.S. market, Bloomberg reported, citing two unnamed sources.

Many are keen to see how well the BlackBerry Z10 does in the U.S., which is still BlackBerry's largest market and a key indicator of its long-term prospects. The company has so far had a good start in Europe and Canada, but the U.S. will be a major test of the resilience of the BlackBerry name.

There has been increased interest in the new BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones, as well as varying reports on availability. According to a recent rumor, for instance, BlackBerry was supposedly getting ready to launch its Z10 on March 15 .

AT&T declined to comment. CNET has contacted BlackBerry for comment on both potential launch dates, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

A challenge for BlackBerry will be sustaining the momentum and good will earned after its unveiling in January. Since then, there's been a long gap as other companies have moved in to make their own big smartphone announcements. HTC unveiled the One smartphone two weeks ago, and Samsung Electronics is scheduled to show off the Galaxy S4 next week.

While BlackBerry has talked about the support from the carriers, the company's products won't be available everywhere. The Z10 will only launch at AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, while the keyboard-packing Q10 will show up at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint Nextel. The Q10 is expected to launch about a month after the Z10, BlackBerry executives said during the launch event.

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