CANADIAN PHONE MAKER Blackberry announced the Blackberry Z10 smartphone to much fanfare at an event in London on Wednesday, as the firm formerly known as Research in Motion talked up the innovative features of its first flagship touchscreen smartphone.
The hype at Blackberry's London event hit its peak when the firm announced that the UK will be the first to get its hands on the Blackberry Z10 smartphone, ahead of the US and the rest of Europe.
However, all of this excitement came crashing down on Thursday morning when Blackberry revealed the pricing of the Blackberry Z10.
Now we're not saying that Blackberry should be selling the handset at a loss, of course not - it needs all of the money it can get to survive - but the Blackberry Z10 is too expensive. Far too expensive.
EE, O2, Three and Vodafone all started selling the Blackberry Z10 today, along with a number of retailers including Phones 4U and Carphone Warehouse. While the handset can be picked up for free from £36 a month in some places, you're looking at around £46 a month if you get the phone from your chosen mobile network - and even more if you want to take advantage of the handset's LTE support.
To put that into context, that means those signing up for a Blackberry Z10 on a 24 month contract will end up paying £1,104 for the company's first Blackberry 10 smartphone. Ouch.
Of course, you might be thinking that's not all that bad as it's a similar price to that of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, but that's exactly what Blackberry has done wrong here.
Blackberry has priced the Blackberry Z10 at the same, and in some cases more expensive, level as its well established competitors, where "well established" is something that Blackberry 10 is not.
Sure, with its business features and excellent onscreen keyboard that mimics Backberry's traditional physical QWERTY keypad, the firm might manage to attract some existing Blackberry customers to upgrade to its latest smartphone.
However, with its expensive price tag, along with the handset's play it safe design and complicated operating system (we know our stuff when it comes to phones, but we're still struggling to get to grips with Blackberry 10), Blackberry is likely to struggle to lure customers away from the Galaxy S3, iPhone 5 and, we dare to say, Windows Phone 8 rivals.
Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum seems to agree. He told The INQUIRER, "Ovum believes that despite a well designed Blackberry 10 platform that will certainly attract short-term interest from existing users, the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience and in the long term will become a niche player in the smartphone market."
Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum echoed Leach's thoughts, adding, "Despite the brief bump RIM will see from the launch of [Blackberry 10], we expect its decline to continue longer term.
"Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don't expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms."
We're not saying that Blackberry should have priced the handset at a loss, but charging £46 a month for its debut Blackberry 10 smartphone is a ridiculous move.
It's not just that the phone's pay monthly pricing is too expensive, either. Here in the UK, the Blackberry Z10 costs around £520 SIM-free too, more than double the price of the Google Nexus 4, which in our opinion is more likely to win over customers with its easy to use interface and jam-packed app store.
Check out our Blackberry Z10 hands-on review. µ
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