So is it pronounced the BlackBerry Zed 10 or BlackBerry Zee 10?

On left, maybe the BlackBerry Z10. Zed 10? Zee 10?

By Kevin Michaluk on 20 Dec 2012 05:51 pm EST

 There's a line you often hear when interviewing Research In Motion employees that goes along the lines of "I cannot comment on rumor or speculation." That said, this is CrackBerry. So while the name BlackBerry Z10 is only rumored at this point to be the name of the first full touchscreen BlackBerry 10 phone to hit the market, we're definitely going to start making some comments.

BlackBerry Z10 - Is it Zee or Zed... or Both?! 

First, let me say a few words on the letter Z when used in a product name like this. Remember, Research In Motion is Canadian, and like many/most countries around the world, Canadians pronounce it Zed. Which means assuming the BlackBerry Z10 name is true, the name is pronounced the BlackBerry Zed 10. However, that won't be the way anybody in the good 'ol US of A will say it. Americans pronounce the letter Z as Zee. So expect things to get a little funny around here in videos when you have Kevin calling this is the BlackBerry Zed 10 and Adam calling it the BlackBery Zee 10. Is this a problem? I don't think it **should** be - the world is full of different languages and different pronunciations, but I'll be curious to see how BlackBerry decides to refer to it on commercials and videos, which these days have global reach and hit eyeballs everywhere. Most of the world says Zed (see wikipedia). America says Zee. BlackBerry wants to see a resurgence in America. If they call it the BlackBerry Zee10, they cater to America, the market they want to win mindshare back in most. If they call it the BlackBerry Zed10, they're not. 

Do I like the name Z10? You BET. I see this is an amazing omen for BlackBerry 10 from my standpoint. Seriously, it's meant to be. Let me pause for a personal story here. I started blogging back in 1996, before blogging was called blogging (I'd manually archive all my posts daily/monthly), on my website which was named Kevin's Kick Butt Ski-Doo website. Back then I was a Ski-Doo fanboy like I am a BlackBerry fan today. And you know what new snowmobile I was waiting for to hit the market at that time more than anything else in the world? The 1997 Ski-Doo MXZ 670, made by Bombardier (another Canadian-based company with global reach)! In my life up until that point, there was nothing I ever wanted to get my hands on more than that snowmobile. The wait for the first BlackBerry 10 phone has elicited the same type of feelings in me these past months as I felt 16 years ago waiting for the MXZ 670 to hit the market. Man was I excited to finally get my hands on it.  So for the first BlackBerry 10 phone to have a Z in the name is just too perfect. It's like history for me is repeating itself. In a good way.

As for how Ski-Doo dealt with the Zed vs. Zee debate, if memory serves me correct it was actually mixed. I'd call it the MX Zee 670. But the company also sold products under the Mach Z and Formula Z lines, and for the Formula Z line people would typically say Formula Zed. The rule I developed for myself was if the Z comes at the end of the product name, especially if the preceeding word has a lot of syllables, you say Zed. If numbers follow it, Zee. So maybe it will come to be known as the BlackBerry Zee10. Who knows. If there's any language professors out there reading this, let us know in the comments if there are actually rules around this.

A Smart BMW-Like Branding Change

Over the years when talking about the BlackBerry product portfolio, I've often referred to BMW cars for an analogy. Every BMW you buy, regardless of the numbers/letters at the end, delivers that "Ultimate Driving Machine" experience, but they make it available to their customers in various flavors - 3 Series, 5 Series, etc. When somebody asks you what kind of car you drive, you usually just respond BMW (unless you're among BMW enthusiasts and you throw in something like the 535i).  

The same has been true of BlackBerry over the years. You always get a similar BlackBerry experience, whether you choose a Curve, Bold, Torch, Style, etc. Ultimately, you're buying a BlackBerry and the BlackBerry experience. But in the past, the extra name between BlackBerry and the model number (9900, 9700, etc.) added a layer of branding to the phone. Arguably, it's unneeded and if anything has caused confusion over the years. Think Torch for example. When the Torch was just a slider that made sense. But then when RIM added a full touchscreen Torch to the line, it just muddled what was clear. With RIM already saying they're going to streamline the portfolio, it makes sense to scrap these family names and go back to putting all of the equity back into the mega brand, BlackBerry. A BlackBerry is a BlackBerry is a BlackBerry. 

Think iPhone. An iPhone is an iPhone is an iPhone. The models change as new ones get released, but all of the brand equity is in the iPhone name. Assuming this BlackBerry Z10 name holds true, the approach here is similar. Why dilute BlackBerry with another family name? It's a BLACKBERRY. You need to differentiate one model from another though, so with a name like Z10 that's what BlackBerry is doing. And just like BMW's naming strategy, there's just something high class about it. I like Z10. It's high end.

Ok, that's enough commenting on rumor and speculation at this point. Let me know what you think.

Bottomline, you can call it the Zed 10, the Zee 10 or any other name you want... I just want it. Bring on the Z10!

Reader comments

So is it pronounced the BlackBerry Zed 10 or BlackBerry Zee 10?


I'm with you, I don't care what they call's mine. I love the way the phone looks, but I must say that I miss the chrome. My daily driver was a torch 9860....but I got a bold 9000 brand new and have been using it ever since, for the keyboard and the chrome...wanted the 9900...but to costly. "i believe in blackberry"....

If they keep the Zed name, every phone should come w/ a bottle of Canada's finest whiskey (please)...

i'm not too keen on the Z10. But i think it will grow on me.
especially if it is zed 10 as it is meant to be.

X10 may cause issues with sony and their xperia range of old.
i think RIM may want to steer clear of any potential aggro from other manufacturers

hell they may surprise us and just announce the name as Blackberry Sexy

Sweet! I'm a huge Sea-Doo fan too. My business/job in university was renting out Sea-Doos. My oldest brother (school teacher) still runs it.

We've got a bunch in the family... my favorite was the old style XP. 800cc twin. Could carve like crazy and was a lot of fun to drive.  

It's a name, it's Zee10. I'm Canadian and can understand the concept, why does everyone gotta be like that.... There's no Zedbra, no ZedZed Top. You're not saying a letter, you're saying a name, learn English. Zee10 is the way it rolls off the tongue, Zeebra, ZeeZee Top. Ugh...

Kind of true and matches what I said in my SkiDoo example above..

But what about when the Z comes at the end.

MXZ670 = M X Zee 670

MXZ = M X Zed.  Then you are saying letters.  

It's still a name, and it's still not singular. Zee still rolls off better to me in that instance. There's a Z in my postal code and it sounds better as Zed in that instance lol. It's all how fluid it is in my eyes.

That's because you're just influenced by Hollywood and everything else south of the border! There's no concept here! The letter is pronounced ZED all over the world but the U.S. - Zee doesn't roll off my tongue - ZED does! However - Kevin does make a valid point in that the U.S. market is the one where RIM has to work the hardest so...are they going to make two versions of the commercials? Or maybe they will leave it at ZED because Americans tend to find different pronunciations and accents "sexy"! Who knows? All just speculation at this point!

I doubt you're older than me - kid! If you show the rest of the world Z10 - that's how they're going to pronounce it "ZED 10". Why force an alien pronunciation on the majority? Having said that, I admit we're nitpicking - who cares - I just want it already LOL!

We use the Apache Derby database a lot. In the user guide it says the pronunciation is either Durrby or Darby based on your nationality.

Personallly I think the US pronunciation of Z is misguided because it is easily confused with C, especially by non-native English speakers. But as RIM doesn't have a C10, the chance of confusion is nonexistent.

There is no zee in Zoo, Zap, Zing, Zulu, Zest, Zoom, Zip, Amaze, Haze, or any number of Z words. It's Zed!

Oh, say double-u-at? That's "what?" according to your "Zedbra" example. Letters aren't always named according to what they sound like. There are exceptions. Nevertheless, folks can pronounce it Zed or Zee. It doesn't matter. I just want the phone!

Personally, I'm glad RIM came up with something simple rather than the 9320 or 9860 or something stupid that is hard to remember.

They could have called it the L10. After all, the nickname was London.

It is not pronounced Zeebra - it is pronounced "Zzz"ebra. Zee Zee Top makes sense because they were an American band.

Most countries don't pronounce it Zee

That is silly. "zebra" has the letter "Z" with the sound zzzzz like a bee, followed by an "E" pronounced eeeee, etc. The LETTER Z is the sticking point. Americans call the letter "zee" while the rest of the English-speaking world calls it "zed". ZeeZee top is an American band. 'nuff said.

e is no pronounced eeeee it is pronounced eh.

You do not pronounce egg as eeeg....

I live in SA, it is pronounced zzzzzzeh-bra

Well the USA have never been able to spell English words correctly so don't expect them to pronounce anything right. IMHO It was the fault of the pilgrim fathers cause after they got the sheep on board they found they had no room for the ewes. OK old joke.

All I can say is, I am in love with Z10. Simply because it will allow for them to use the alphabet in the lines to follow. Granted at the same time, there is just something classy about BLACKBERRY Zed 10. Glad to be back in the comments. Been too busy! Either way they pronouce it, I am happy. Glad to see that my favorite brand and company ever, has evolved into a force that will have the other manufacturers looking over there sholders. I #BB10BELIEVE!!!!!!!! RIMPIRE FOREVER. I bleed BLACKBERRY!!!!!!!!!

Sounds like one of the Sony ericsson phone lines.. The alphabet series like W, X, V and Z series

Yup. Shoot, just give me the phone already!!!!!!!!!!! I pedal BLACKBERRY at work like I am selling crack. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People at work look at me like I'm crazy when I say my next phone is going to be a Blackberry. Cause I'm the 'always got have the latest and greatest gadget' guy in the office. If they knew and understood about BB10, they would know I'm still following my same old usual pattern. I truly believe RIM has the potential to usher in a new era of smartphone expectations. Something beyond: it has a lot of really cool apps.

When someone asks me what phone I'm using I will respond with "its a BlackBerry TEN phone" I won't say it's a Zee ten. "Ten" is the most important word here imo.

It's not just a BlackBerry's a BlackBerry10! Big difference here. You have BlackBerry and you have BlackBerry Ten. Two totally different devices in every way. As Thor says "not one line of code from the legacy os is in BlackBerry10.

So Zee Zed X doesn't really matter if you ask me. Ten is what matters, 10-4 ?

That's true. Ten becomes the second name, just as Curve and Bold were.

So it's BlackBerry 10... 10 is the family. Z is the model. Put it all together and you have BlackBerry Z10. 

No... Really... I just want IT... Z10 or something else...

Any how... I will call it Z10... Zê dez... In plain Portuguese...

Bring it on....

I like "Zee" 10. And although I'm not big on Ski-door, I am a big fan of Bombardier. They make great trains-like Amtrak's AcelaExpress high speed train and about a third of our subway fleet here in NYC(and a lot of our regional commuter trains here).

I personally don't like it. Too plain. Not exciting. It's not "BAM"! I would have named it....the Lazarus! Back from the dead, risen again and alive and well!

I think they are calling it the Z10 because there will be no other phone better after this one debuts!

BlackBerry Z10!!!

This is what is getting me lol, Z 10...Okay, cool but why? RIM I'd love to know what the Z 10 means to Research In Motion. Just curious is all.

Z10 doesn't really sound appealing, but maybe I would get use to it. Either way I am going to be buying this phone as soon as It comes out.

BOLD. for the win. The bold line and name have always been the best and really stuck with common and not so familiar users. People who don't really know blackberry still know the BOLD name. No one remembers the storm or style. They barely remember the torch. But the bold sticks. And sounds high class and business like. The Z10 won't resonate with the 18 - 25 crowd and definitely not with anyone younger. Which sounds better? "I have a galaxy" "I have an iPhone" "I have a z10". It doesn't stick. But "I have a bold" YES.

OK here is my prediction. Z was chosen because it is like a gesture swiping across the screen. The keyboard version will be a K10. You heard it here first. ;-)

Me, no BMW but definitely a Nissan Zed fan and now rocking the latest Zed car ..well next will be BB Zed 10 I come

At the time when Apple released the "new iPad" an Apple fan at iMore claimed that only "losing companies like BlackBerry" number their products. Seems that he had forgotten about other "losing companies" that number their products, like BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche and Audi. It's a shame for him that Apple went back to numbering the iPad 6 months later.
People around the world will call it whatever they wish and are comfortable with.

Well you know I'll be rockin' a BlackBerry "Zetterberg" 10 when my contract is up in September....just in time for some Hockeytown hockey. ;-)

C'mon Kev...You know that's clever, and ya like it. For all the Jets gloss I gave ya on here when they came back home (btw, when are we gonna see that dasherboard at the MTS!?!?!?!? I'm gonna keep houndin' ya 'til I see that orange disc logo near the red line right below Glenn Healy's chin. So get on it Kev!!!), we gotta keep the painted logos fresh between the blue lines.

If any of you see Hank in any BlackBerry Z10 commercials, then you know I called that sucker.

And for us here in the states, if you see Eli or RGIII in any Z10 commercials, I'm calling that one too.

Zed 10
Brilliant... love it.

I can see and hear from all over the world saying "BlackBerry Zed 10"
Americans will say "Zee 10" and that's fine.

I think it will sound really cool in a South African accent.

great problem to have but i cant decide which one to get. i have and love my PB and bold 9930. The keyboard is so money to have esp with the keyboard but the full touch looks like its the cats pajamas.

Being an American, I hated Zee10 as soon as I saw it. Boring. Unimaginative. Nobody is going to buy a Zee10. L Series and London sounded better than that. All that being said, Zed10 sounds awesome though. I think Americans would eat it up. Especially when you get to be all snooty and say "No, it's pronounced Zed10." to your fellow Americans. And then you can pretend you are all worldly and travel to Europe twice a week by private jet.

As an American I would have to say that we usually over-react to things not being directly marketed to us. If it comes across as "foreign" it could qucikyl be a problem. Based on the fact that the big problems in sales and lost user base are in the US, I would think it might be a place to target not take a risk on alienating. How about a name that does not require a conversation as to whether it will bother anyone

It's pronounced "Zee" - b/c more fun marketing stuff can rhyme with Zee - happily, easily, confidently, happy, quirky, etc

Zed...uh, dead, dread, bed....only one good one out of three come to mind.


I believe there is no Alphabet song that uses Zed instead of Z, just because saying zed at the end just ruins the entire tune...

All over the world, my friend--we all sing "w, x, y and zed". No, it doesn't have to rhyme, that was only Webster's idea. Kids outside of America have no problem with it. :) Cheers!

Hmm.. not bad, i liked the L-series branding tho but "Zee" or "Zed" will be good. Its like the 350Z pronounced "Zee" or the predecessor 300ZX pronounced "Zed" LOL.

The "Z" would fit in with my maZda RX8 ...."Zoom Zoom" [We all have something sentimental to fall back on that had a "Z" in it.... Can't wait for BB10, i'm getting two (Z)"

Ya I'm not a fan of the name Z10. You don't see iPhone or Android designating letters to their phones. An iPhone is an iPhone yes but version number changes as its upgraded, same as Android galaxy series. So what do we do for future bb10 models? Is the next all touch going to be a blackberry A10? Are we going to start over within the alphabet? And if we have to use a letter, we should have gone with Q10. At least Q could have represented the QNX OS bb10 is built upon. Just my opinion.

“Think highly of yourself, because the world will take you at your own estimate.”

I decided it was shorthand for the phonetic way a French-speaker would refer to the phone when responding in English:

Q: "What smartphone do you have?"

A: "Eye ave ze 10!!!"

Frank Boulben you sneaky rascal...

Best to go with a letter for internationalization issues, that's why BMW/Mercedes/Audi go with 3-5-7 series.

Don't go there. The Germans even get letters with Umlauts into their product names, and they love suffixes rather than prefixes. It always used to amuse me seeing the Audi 100cc, you could ask the owner if that was the engine capacity.

Ok people, don't hate on me, but I'm not a fan of Zee 10 (yes I'm Canadian, but do people honestly still use zed?!) or L-Series/N-Series, I used to names such as BOLD, STORM, TORCH, CURVE, STYLE, and PEARL... They need another awesome sounding name. I personally think the name gives the phone character, who can really argue that the Blackberry Bold isn't bold? Instead of these letter/number names, they need to find a nice word, like the BlackBerry Blaze (yea, why not) or the Blackberry Strike or anything even the BlackBerry I-Bane

Although it doesn't make much of a difference to me, I think I am leaning towards Zed a bit more. It sounds more authentic no? Zee sounds like someone with a French accent trying to pronounce 'the'.

I still want them to name it with a name, not letter&numbers. Z10 is a good name though, if it's only for that one type. But if the Z or the 10 will be used as the type for later devices, it will not be good because it limit the use of it.

If they use the Z as the type name, it will be limited to 20ish at most. Reason: iphone is at iphone5 now, do you think people will still think it's cool when it get to iphone35? Apple can prolong the hype by using letters behind it, like iphone5 S, iphone5 S mini etc, but it's limited to few possibilities because not all letters can be used (only letters like S for Special, M for mini, HD for high def etc).

If the 10 is used for naming the OS type, the limit got smaller. We only have 26 letters right? It can be prolonged by using short name like SE, HD, etc but that also limited to a few combinations.

Naming it as a word is the most make sense choice. London, for that touchscreen device (I forgot what N is on the N series lol). Zee or Zed is a good name too. Any words you can think of can become a good name.

That being said, Z10 is a good name as it is ^^

EDit: forgot to add, I want the new blackberry to use words as the name, but not like the old time. Make it different name for different type. Like maybe Touch for touchscreen and Key for the keypad. Or any better name.

"what's your blackbery?”
"it's a Monza.”

"What's your blackberry?”
"A Torch.”
"Which Torch? Slider or fullscreen?”

With the pace of development what it is, what makes you think that by the time Apple would have got to iPhone35, phones will even be recognisable? Or that Apple will still exist?

I hope this naming is a sign that RIM have learnt their lesson and will minimise the number of models in future. The confusion is not the model numbering but simply that there are too many of them.

Lol yeah, I was exaggerating on the iphone35 :p I agree that RIM should simplify the naming. And I think the simplest thing is to name it with words, not letters&numbers.

The naming of previous devices was confusing, but they should have learned their lesson by now. That it's confusing to have dual name for a device, the numbers & the words. Even more confusing to add another name as a third name (like 9550,storm 2,odin).

But they should have learned another lesson too, that people are easier to remember words than numbers. Bold, Curve, Torch, Storm, Monza, Orlando, Pearl etc. If they don't make the same mistake like in the past, which is making two or three names for a device, it will not confused average people.

Then again, Z10 is a good name, but it can probably make people confused in the future. Probably :)

Zed sound too much like sad. I don't want it ! So are you !
I like the Zee sound. Seeeeeeeee, You see, Zee 10, See 10, See the perfect number 10!

There is nothing cool about Z10. Please don't name it this. Keep naming them with real names:. Bold, Torch, Curve, etc. Not that I am a marketing guru or anything, but, something appropriate to what it is - maybe Paradigm?

They go the NOKIA way. Considering that NOKIA used to use the same numbering sequence (4 digits with 9xxx being the last), it's no wonder RIM will use the similar naming for next devices (NOKIA's [letter][number][number])

It is most likely Zed. I don't like it but then again I am not used to it.

If it was "X" then it would be pronouces like a "Zee." Like Xerxes is.

I want to say Zee, not only because I'm American, but because when someone starts saying Zed, the fanboys are going to start saying: "Zeds Dead Baby"

Personally I believe it's pronounced Zee-10. I think the name came about as a natural progression as the media has called BlackBerry 10, "The BlackBerry 10" or "The 10". I think the "The" got changed to "Zee" with Thorsten's German accent.

Just my two cents! :)

I guess the "Z10" moniker will work! Also, the reason why "ZEN" won't work is because folks imagination will stray from "Blackberry",...the brand, as their thoughts will evolve to wondering if there is any special meaning behind "ZEN".

Like Kev was explaining about "BMW" loyalists,...whenever they engage into a convo with non-BMW owners, they only mention "BMW" when asked about the type of car they drive. Why, the non-BMW owner,...the moniker/model numbers are near irrelevant and one can nearly rest assured that most non-BMW owners,...and especially non-car-centric-minded folks could care less about ,...328i,...535i,...545i,...or 645Csi! Having said that, most non-BMW owners see the BMW brand of something that shapes the automobile industry, innovating market leader. RIM use to be in the drivers seat,...and for a long time RIM was an innovating market leader. RIM now has to redefine itself,...just as automobile manufactures have done within various market segments. Toyota did this with the Lexus brand,...Nissan did ditto with Infinity, etc. They had to, because there was no way the average driver would folk out high dollars for a Toyota trying to compete with Mercedes, BMW and Audi! But,...Lexus and Infinity does has level the playing field and have made many think twice before signing on the straight line!

What's in a brand name? By gosh,...everything! In a way, RIM's near demise could very well have been the best thing that could have happened to RIM, it forced them to do a total overhaul of the entire "Blackberry" infrastructure. For instance, all BBs should have one engine and that's BB10! Why not? Doesn't every current and worth having iPhone has iOS 6 or at least is compatiable therewith? The only question folks will need to ask is if they want a 3, 5, or 7 Series,...or should I say,...a Z10, Z11, or Z14? Either way, the OS will be the same across the board. There will be no step-children Blackberry devices, they all will share the full capability of BB10!

But still, RIM needs to have a premium BB10 device. For instant, I want a large,...4.7" or larger screen!,...I want a little heft,..solidity built into my device,...(I like the feel of the Nokia 920),..I want a battery that's still at 80% at 4pm! I want a screen so sharp that I really can see Russia from my house and I want enough RAM to pull a Dodge with a Hemi under the hood! I want enough storage to rent out space to the homeless. I don't ever want to see the OS stutter! I want a Blackberry that not only has the best OS available,...but a Blackberry that is so baddd, powerful, makes me want to buy 2, or 3, or 4! Why do I voice my desire for all of these wants? Well, as an owner of multiple BMW over the years,...when I owned a 3-Series, I wanted the 5-Series,...and every time I saw a shark-nosed 6-Series, I wanted it too. When the E36 M3 was released,...I wanted it more than food or sex! Why! Because anyone with an M3 will get food and sex,..eventually!...that's just the way it is.

Rim, you're doing a find job, there is a tremendous amount of buzz in the air about "BLACKBERRY" and that alone is a good thing. I, like many here are up for renewal of contracts this month and I'm still on the fence about staying Blackberry. For me, the unknown is the hardware numbers! So, not knowing that, I want say would I'll get if the new BBs devices don't deliver for me,...but, it won't be an iPhone, the screen is to freak'n narrow and it won't be the HTC One X+,...because it's not wayyyyy faster than the original One X,...even though it has Quad core, etc. Plus, the One X+ screen isn't as bright as the One X. I'll just wait for the final hardware specs of the BB10 devices before committing to anything!


Zed ...

Soooo much to say but I know it would be lost on most. So I will be typically Canadian and say pronounce it how you would like, I don't mind (but really I do).


as w/ the standard weights & measures vs. metric, we in the U.S. are just too stubborn, maybe even lazy, to make that big of a change to what is so nationally cemented & widespread,,, Zed won't fly here,,, i can hear the jokes now,,, sounds like some ol' redneck relative of the Beverly Hillbillies,,, even Z10 is a litte too mechanical, as many have mentioned it's application to cars etc.,,, the military "Zulu" phonetic might fly here,,, whatever it is, it needs to sound as big & badass as the OS it will be representing...


ZED! There are many different ways to pronounce letters in different words but stand alone they only have one way to pronounce them. "Zed" 10 sounds strong, "Zi" 10 (* NOT ZEE *) falls flat. Also agree that it should be "Zed" because it's a Canadian company! GO RIM!

Whoa! That's super interesting, never knew there was another way to pronounce Z.

But in my opinion when airing commercials in America, it needs to be Zee because very few people will know or like (because they're not used to hearing it) or understand "Zed10". This is not the time or place for RIM to fight the good fight about how America is the only place that pronounces it different so they must be wrong.