The U.S. Likely Won’t Get Its Thumbs On The Hardware QWERTY-Sporting BlackBerry Q10 Until May Or June

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When BlackBerry unveiled its new BB10 line of devices and mobile OS, the company showed off both the Z10 and Q10 smartphones. The Z10 was released shortly after the announcement in many markets (the next day in the U.K., this week in Canada) and will hit the U.S. in March, but the Q10 with its hardware QWERTY keyboard was said to be hitting markets beginning in April. The key word there was “beginning,” however, as in a follow-up interview BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins reveals Americans likely won’t get the device until May or June.

Heins told the Associated Press in an interview (via AllThingsD) that the Q10 is likely to arrive in the U.S. some eight to ten weeks after the Z10 hits the U.S., which is supposed to happen around mid-March. That means it will be until May or even June before U.S. customers are able to buy the Q10, some simple math tells us.

The delay isn’t all that surprising. The Z10 is also arriving stateside later than it is coming to other markets, something Heins attributed to the extensive carrier testing required to get it approved for use on major networks in the U.S. from AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint. The same thing is to be expected for the Q10, with perhaps a bit of a shorter testing period required since it’s running BB10, which the carriers are seeing in final shipping form for the first time with the Z10′s round of testing.

The delay isn’t great for BlackBerry, which would no doubt like to have the QWERTY handset out as soon as possible, after giving the Z10 a chance to find a foothold with consumers. The Q10 remains among the last real hardware keyboard smartphones, and it’ll be interesting to see how BlackBerry blends that control mechanism with BB10′s largely gesture based navigation interface, and how that combination works for consumers.