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Mon 25 Mar 2013 08:37 AM

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BlackBerry Z10 sales mixed, say UAE retailers

Retailers have reported mixed sales for the BlackBerry Z10, but said sales are expected to rise when Q10 model is released

BlackBerry Z10 sales mixed, say UAE retailers
The Blackberry Z10 is displayed at the BlackBerry 10 launch event at Pier 36 in Manhattan (Getty Images)

Electronics retailers in the UAE have reported mixed sales for the highly anticipated BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, but said sales are expected to rise when the Q10 model is released.

BlackBerry launched its latest smartphone in the Gulf state at the end of January but was forced to delay its release in the US until this last weekend, where retailers reported flat sales.

Regional electronics outlets said demand for the device was strong in the weeks following its release, but has since waned.

“The launch was as per expectations and for the first two weeks demand was as we expected it to be. Sales were fantastic and there was a lot of hype so we did well but after those two weeks it went flat very rapidly,” said Nadeem Khanzadah, head of retail business for Jumbo Electronics.

“Usually after a couple of weeks you would expect demand to slow down a little but in this case it happened very quickly,” he added.

The well-reviewed device, whose success is essential if BlackBerry is to reestablish itself as a power in the smartphone industry, hit US store shelves on Friday but reports of a flat response saw BlackBerry shares decline nearly 8 percent.

“Demand has been fairly steady here because BlackBerry has a much stronger footing as a brand than in the US and I think that’s shown in the sales over here,” said Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Electronics.

Demand for the device in the UAE is expected to pick up when BlackBerry releases the Q10 model, which has a traditional physical keyboard that is likely to appeal to heavy email users. “A lot of people are waiting for the key device,” said Panjabi, adding that he expected it to go on sale in April or May. 

“The core customer of BlackBerry is the enterprise user and they usually use the physical keyboard for heavy email and typing so the Z10 doesn’t really address their needs. When the Q10 launches we’ll see the real BlackBerry customers come into the market,” said Khanzadah.

BlackBerry, a one-time smartphone pioneer, has failed to keep pace with rival devices powered by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.

The smartphone maker, which is already selling the new touch-screen smartphone in about 25 countries, has yet to release any hard numbers on the initial sales of the Z10 in major markets but is expected to when it releases its quarterly results on March 28.

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Hisham 6 years ago

Flatlined as expected... This company is in the zone that they call "the land of the living dead" in the tech world. Funny enough they thought people would forever keep buying their poorly designed, poorly manufactured and no-good phones for the sole reason of having access to email and BBM. They've apparently completely missed that there are tens of great BBM alternatives out there (with even PIN based alternatives such as MessageMe) and the fact that ANY device can handle email exceptionally nowadays. Good luck with those few 50 year olds who still prefer to press a button! Maybe they should build a cassette player into the Q10 as well. In 2013 if you buy a smartphone, the decision to do so should be based mainly on what great apps (that will make your life a lot easier) you have access to. Otherwise you might as well just buy a "dumb phone".

Belarkan 6 years ago

There is absolutly no button on the Z10, it is blazing fast.
So fast it makes IOS look aged while Android is condemned to hardware inflation (octo-core anyone?) because it has a flawed kernel.

If BB manages to sell a decent number of units, up the ante for the apps (which they seem commited to do), both IOS and Android are toasted.

DJ3 6 years ago

Good one

Hisham 6 years ago

But only if the tooth fairy pays them a visit and sprinkles some magic dust over their headquarters. By the way, currently the fastest smart phone tested (in functioning) is the HTC One. Actually in benchmark tests the Z10 wasn't faster than a Samsung Galaxy S3 in anything, from starting up (which actually took so long that a man has landed on Mars and came back while starting up his Z10) to anything else. And the iPhone/iOS combination brings of course a great user experience and great seamless integration with other devices. BlackBerry came up with the "BlackBerry Hub". Wow! It's basically Facebook's iOS/Android App functions copied and hyped as if it's a new UI concept. And what's up with making a phone the size of a mansion and only putting in a tiny jail cell window? A 4.2 inch screen on a phone that HUGE?

patrice 6 years ago

I have been a blackberry user for years and in this case it is not just the phone that is the problem. Until the local service providers clarify what they are going to do about blackberry voice/ video, I don't see why I should buy the Z10 over the iphone or the S3 that offer Skype. Keyboard or no Keyboard the service providers need to be clear about what they are going to do.

WSF 6 years ago

Well I think you don't follow the market well Hisham. S4 was the reason BB sales are down & out. Secondly, each mobile launched by BB has a different market and user base (Z10 competes with touchscreen phones, Q10 with keypad phones). Thirdly, regarding the features/UI/App etc., all software companies are bounded by patents which they cannot copy therefore it becomes comparatively difficult to use a new operating system initially until you get a hang of it (as was the case with Android when IOS was already in market).
Lets c whats in store by BB, Android, IOS, etc.

Kevin 6 years ago

My opinion is that most businesses have not switched to the BES10 software (released Jan 2013) which is a prerequisite for a BB10 device. Hence slow adoption rate in terms of business customers.

The alternative is to use Push email/Active Sync, which some companies do use which can be compromised by the lack of encryption.

Yahya 6 years ago

Z10 is smartphone that was born too late, that should have been launched years ago when Apple was still refining iOS and Android was still a laggy, unattractive, pixellated goop of icons and widgets.
Few of the disadvantages of Z10, it boasts that it has 100,000 apps in its BlackBerry World store, while Apple's App Store has 900,000 apps, and Android's has 800,000 and the apps in those app stores are far better than those in BlackBerry's.
The Battery Life is disappointing, it lasted through the day, but only barely. Last but not the least, this is a frustrating smartphone because there is no Home button on the Z10, only a button on top to power the display on and off.
But seriously, I cannot understand this obsession with these expensive smartphone, I still use my Nokia and am more than happy with it, a real waste of hard earned money I say!

Ali 6 years ago

In the UAE the blackberry international one tarriff for DH 295 was key (ie no additional cost for roaming and receiving your email) with that gone, nothing is left to distinguish blackberry, other than some loyalists to BBM.