Talking USA Q10 launch with BlackBerry COO, Kristian Tear [Video]

By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Jun 2013 08:54 am EDT

June 5th was another milestone day in the global rollout of BlackBerry 10, with the full-qwerty BlackBerry Q10 officially becoming available in the USA.

To help spread the word, BlackBerry's Chief Operating Officer Kristian Tear was in New York City yesterday talking to the media, and we had the chance to sit down with him and ask him a few questions. With BlackBerry in their quiet period leading up to earnings at the end of this month we kept the scope of the conversation to the Q10 launch (no talking sales numbers, etc).  

Be sure to watch the video interview above as we talk about the Q10, the demand for it from loyal BlackBerry fans, and its support from both carriers and enterprises. For those who can't watch the video (you really should!), keep reading for some of the highlights.

On demand for the BlackBerry Q10...

I asked Kristian the infamous Z10 or Q10? question straight up, to which he replied that he currently was using the Z10, but he made it clear that this is the phone *soo many* BlackBerry users have been waiting for:

"A lot of people have been waiting for this device. This is what the BlackBerry lovers have been really, really looking forward to. And it is a fantastic experience, the best of the best, and only from BlackBerry. There is really nobody else who can provide that experience with full touch and with a great, best keyboard."

I've always felt that the competition has simply conceded the keyboard market to BlackBerry, and this was a sentiment that Kristian shared as well:

"If you look at the QWERTY market as an addressable market, this is our market. This is our space. It builds on our credibility. It builds on something only we can offer."

Demand for the Q10 extends into enterprises too of course, where there has been a pent up demand for BES 10.1 services and the new BlackBerry Q10 to launch:

"60% of all Fortune 500 companies are testing, have ordered or are piloting as we speak."

Bottom line, the Q10 is a solid phone and it's going to be a solid seller for BlackBerry over the months ahead with the people who have been waiting for it.

On carrier support...

BlackBerry is clearly happy that they have the support from all four major US carriers, and that they are launching the device at (roughly) the same time and at a price point that appeals to both enterprise and consumers:

"What we are proud and pleased about is that the US carriers are launching it at the $199.99 price point (T-Mobile at $99), which is a consumer price point as well. Carriers are expressing their support - there is a lot of training, a lot of collaboration."

And with all four carriers launching at the same time, you're now going to see exposure, advertising and marketing ramp up in the US.

On launch timing...

Following up on our editorial earlier this week regarding the timing of Q10 launch (so many CrackBerry readers we're expecting/hoping it would land in May), I asked Kristian who's to blame in terms of the Q10 not landing even sooner in the USA: 

"BlackBerry always has an interest in rolling out the phones as fast as possible across the globe."

While those in the US have had to wait among the longest to have the chance to get their hands on the Q10, looking at the rollout globally BlackBerry is doing well. According to Kristian, BlackBerry achieved 255 T.A.s (technical acceptances by 255 carriers) in record time. Comparing the Z10 to Q10 rollouts, they have even improved, compressing the launch time windows across markets. Different carriers have different requirements for testing the phones on their networks, etc. So while Kristian didn't come out and directly blame the US carriers for taking longer here to get things approved here, that was still my takeaway. As far as the Q10 hardware goes, it's ready. Things just seem to be taking a little longer in the US. The good news is that the Q10 is finally in the US - that wait is over.

Watch the video...

Be sure to watch the video above!

Reader comments

Talking USA Q10 launch with BlackBerry COO, Kristian Tear [Video]


Now I have to find out when it releases in Australia on Telstra. I get a few people a week asking for it.

Posted via CB10

Q10 is for old people. Nobody else will not buy! Design from 2005, tiny screen, no apps ....I can go on and on !
Sorry, Q10 will totally flop like the Playbook!

Famous last words. Remember this, at 3.1" it is almost as big as the iPhone 4s screen and as for people not liking the keyboard, I'm missing my Bolds keyboard since buying my Z10 and I'm not alone.

Posted via CB10

hmm do you read the news? the design is better then most phones out there BTW.. mann why do we let people like this on the site? have no idea what their talking about.. but i guess that's what the internet is.. a place for a bunch of idiots to come and speak nonsense and then never show up again..

You can't even compare the Q10 to the Playbook. The PB has a great OS but it was rushed missing important feature until it got update much later as well as no app ecosystem. The Q10 on the other hand is what the majority of loyal BB users have been waiting for. It's designed very well and it's running the new BB 10 platform with a pretty good app ecosystem to support it. This is BlackBerry's bread and butter for the time being. It won't flop!!!

Posted via CB10

The screen is awesome. Just played with one at t mo. Going to get the white on Verizon Monday to switch up with my black Z10 at will.

Posted via CB10

Just preorder the Q10 through AT&T for my wife. I try to talk her into Z10 like mine but she insisted on keyboard. She is impatiently waiting for AT&T to ship.

that's why people who uses it are "productive" mainly for email, calls and text - that's blackberry's measure of productivity.

Productivity measure by BlackBerry is sooo much more than emails, calls and text:
Shared Drive access (Word/Excel/PowerPoint document access and modifications)
SharePoint Access & enterprise collaboration of documents/services (more of the above due to versioning implementation).
inter-office communications platform - MS Lync, MVS for internal PBX deployments (VOIP),
VPN Access - if required (mostly not due to BES doing this natively).
And now Presentation - PowerPoint slides (externally) and notes (internally on device for the presenter to see only).

What you've stated is so 1990, this is the modern world for productivity.

Might pick one up next month depending on how things go. Already have and like my Z10, but a physical keyboard is appealing too :)

Posted via CB10

Loving the Q10 now since a week before BlackBerry Live 2013.. the keyboard is awesome and the battery life is unbelievable.

Enabled word prediction and I am that much faster..

Posted via CB10

I know my company is testing BB10 in our environment. We have over 60,000 employees globally and about 18,000 use Blackberry devices.

I am one of those beta testing BB10 with balance and we expect to carry both devices by end of this quarter.

Posted via CB10

Haha, do you work for EMC? Sounds exactly like what I'm doing here with beta BB10 program and carrying the Z10 & Q10 by the end of the month.

BlackBerry will sell a boat load of Q10's. It's such a gorgeous mobile. I love my Zed 10/BB10 best mobile experience out there!

Why some.people crackberry just to be beyond me. Dont you.have a life?

Posted via CB10

I wonder if Kevin asked him about 10.1 for the z-10...I would reaally like to know what the delay is...if it was just Verizon, I would understand as it takes them so much longer than the rest but none of the us carriers have released it...

Haha, true!
I wonder when will it arrive to Spain, there are no news here...

Posted via my z10 - BBM channel pin C000F331C

Cheadley1, I was wondering exactly the same thing. I felt that was one of the most important questions that needed to be asked. Especially, if followers of your very own site have been constantly asking about it.

Posted via CB10

Kevin doesn't post the tough questions to BlackBerry executives. He doesn't want to make them feel uncomfortable, I guess

Posted via CB10

The screen cap on the video looks as though Kevin's about the lay the smackdown on Mr. COO for being so late to the US. haha

@ least Digicel in Trinidad launching it soon but still gonna be expensive sigh wish we the payment plans the us and Canada have ..... here its buy in full for every thing

will be picking the up the Q for sure.

What I want to for the qwerty is a bigger screen. 3.5-3.6 inch screen, upgrade all the specs, but the screen needs to get bigger. I will sacrifice a little one hand operation efficiency, for the larger display. This will be a great device, and BB needs to go there next year. Keep it high end, great build quality, great materials. BB needs to take it up a few levels, and keep pushing the iconic qwerty. This device will bring back the former BB users

Cant wait for the Q10 on ATT

Wow. Kristian Tear sounds...unenthusiastic. And, I'm definitely not buying the argument that the US carriers took longer than necessary.

I agree, from what he is saying, it seems it's Blackberry, not the US carriers. On other note, I am wondering if Blackberry has any American in its top management? I think they need someone from the states in their top management since it's their biggest market. It will probably also help Blackberry in getting positive media coverage or at least less bashing.

No they don't ... the last 2 American representatives did NOTHING good for BlackBerry. They need executives that are globally focused ... no 1 country is an island upon which a corporation like BlackBerry can depend solely on. Users need to stop thinking locally.

US carriers have a lot more going on with their network towers than any other carrier globally:
USA carriers are the ONLY carriers that continually get threats from their users to destroy their equipment that is deployed publicly (towers, GGSN/HLR nodes, etc).
USA carriers are the ONLY carriers that deploy towers in the form of cactii, cattle, trees, etc!!!
^ due to these there are a lot of augmentations done to these pieces of equipment, many are non standard ... T-Mobile was famous for a HUGE error of using IMEI authentication to restrict use of a specific APN - recall the HP iPaq 6400 launch?! I do because I worked in Tier2 (outsourced) for support of smartphones and seeing 10 calls in the queue jump to 640 in less than 5seconds when the switch was turned on for this ... and grow to over 10'000 - the phones couldn't display more than those digits over the course of 5 weeks ... I enjoyed working 12hr shifts with 4hrs break and another 10hr shift for each weekend. Many providers in the USA do other such unique adjustments to their networks that cause longer wait times.

Well the Z10 is in the latest Ad from AT&T that is in regular circulation promoting their current half price when your trade in your old smart phone sale.

Hope the advertizing ramps up for BlackBerry now that the Z10 is launching in the USA as it's slowed allot from the launch of the Z10.

Also really hope that there are actually allot of BlackBerry users in the USA that are waiting on this phone as BlackBerry is on the precipice of irrelevance in the consumer market in the USA and needs a strong device launch to get people's attention back in their direction.

Personally, I think the vital product for BlackBerry in the USA will be the Aristo though. The 5"+ touchscreen segment is on fire in the USA and that is the product they really need to get right and market the hell out of this holiday season.

I think there will be some and maybe a lot of negative blow back from all of us who used our upgrade only to have a much better phone released less than eight months later. Glad they keep moving forward but they need to stop poking their loyal customers in the eyes

Posted via CB10

Such is the nature of development. What is an excellent product now will be replaced by something else in a matter of months. The average consumer, regardless of market, cannot keep up.

At 1:23 into the video, he says that the Q10 will launch for all four carriers for preorder next week. He included Sprint in the list. He did not say 'later this summer'. He said next week. Is this an official announcement or a slip-up on his part?

I would have watched the video if the camera wasn't focusing on Kevin all the time. Seems like he is the point of interest which his partner is instead. Secondly I have problems understanding both of them. Clip-on microphones would have done the trick.

Just my $0.02

Had problems hearing them as well. Clip-on microphones for sure would have been (for clarity of sound) so much more professional. (imho)

@Kevin thank you for getting the questions passed on to BlackBerry.

Kristian Tear said that "looking at global scope," we don't care about that. The question is why leave your biggest market to last? Why not get the devices for US first?

Another important question why are they behind in marketing.. There is a commercial of Z10 on youtube which is fantastic why isn't that running on TV channels?

Kevin please don't be so nice to them (BlackBerry) while asking questions.. I as a stockholder am fed up with all these heck ups..

If your talking about the mash up by pixlecarve commercial I agree 100 % that should be on TV now, it gave me goosebumps.

Posted via CB10

F Blackberry. I watched Blackberry Live 3 weeks ago and all the carriers were going to get the Q10 late summer except for Verizon getting in June. I bought an HTC One, (which is a beautiful phone BTW) once I heard the terrible news. Now they are all getting the phone around this same time? Still unspecified. I played with the phone at T-Mobile yesterday; and I honestly miss that keyboard....Thor first said May launch in U.S., Then June to late summer, then all the sudden it's on one carrier, to pre-order on the other 3??? Love the product, however the company is notoriously terrible at launching their phones. Now what do I do with this HTC One? And yes, "I am Mad Bro".

OK so for us SPRINT USERS Krisitan said all carriers will be getting it same time? And also he said it will be available next week? or am i imagining?

We always come back to blaming the carriers but i really believe it was Blackberry who decided to give the US carriers a delayed launch. If it came to the US carriers first, it would have flopped and it would have negatively impacted the company. By seeing it launch on Blackberry friendly countries first, it built up hype to keep the nay-sayers at bay. Nice strategy

I don't think the marketing will ramp up until they get to the point they are producing enough Q10's to satisfy existing demand. Why waste money marketing and getting people in the stores if there is no product to sell. Right now, apparently, everyone is fighting for allocation of Q10's. Really seems to be a hot selling phone.

I agree, that BBRY could not afford to launch first and flop in the USA, and that this was a smart marketing decision, to launch in other countries first and try to build momentum.

Kevin is all excited that he saw ONE Q10 in NYC. I don't know who does market research for BlackBerry in the USA, but the brand is in trouble and I doubt people in the USA are waiting for a physical keyboard. BBRY may own the market, but it is because no other OEM cares to go after such a small market. The big screen phones is what people want, even in Canada. The Aristo should have been the second USA phone, if not the first. Any QWERTY device should have had more screen real-estate, even if it meant using the Aristo body. My brother in Canada just bought a Galaxy S4, even after I gave him a PlayBook. Had the PB been running OS 10 he might have gotten a Z10, after playing with OS 10 first hand. He says he likes android better. All of my talk about OS 10 was not enough. BBRY Marketing is still a very weak link from research to advertising. He is a stock broker with a boutique clientele. You'd think he would feel more secure with a BlackBerry. Many brokers steer clear of BBRY stock. This is, I believe, mainly because of the misinformation they see out there and the lack of communication or correction by BBRY Marketing with on point ad campaigns. Cute jinlge music advertising says nothing about product differentiation/information that matters to people. Clarity is required on what makes OS10 OS 10! This is where the ads need to focus--especially in the USA where BBRY is not APPL and should not have APPL type cute ads. Heck even APPL can properly spend 30 seconds differentiating its product, the IPhone:

Posted via CB10

Even looking at the minute plus ad in my link above, captions should be placed on the bottom of the frames displaying the key new OS 10 features:1)Time Shift, 2) Balance, 3)Flick Typing, 4) HUB. The captions can easily run under the ad to define the features that no one else offers. Make full use of the screen real-estate. Most people are visual "learners" so define these four key differentiators in captions using a few key words. As an example, what is time shift, we see it in the ad, but would not recognize it as a feature of OS 10 unless we have used OS10. So, as the kid begins to appear start defining time shift in a caption: "Time shift allows multiple frames of a picture in time to recreate the perfect photo" so that when we see the time shift in action image we know what we are looking at.

So, no real answer on the US launch delay, just ambiguous deflection toward fulfilling carrier requirements and a specious argument about taking it in context of the global launch (gee, mom, I'm failing math but look how good I'm doing in art class!).

At least the g-d damn phone is finally available. Being an AT&T user, I have to wait another week and change, to take advantage of their smartphone trade-in promo.

But it's worth it.

My IT department is stating they would have to buy a new server to run BES10, they are being wooed by Telus who are pushing Galaxy S4 and giving them S4's to try for free. I am trying to push BB10 advantages but its tuff when providers push Android (Probably due to margins - I don't know). Any input that can help me better understand what is really required for companies to switch BB10 is appreciated.

BlackBerry was my first love but the bottom line is the iPhone is the American phone of choice. Apps get updated faster on iPhone, OS updates are done by Apple. I found it very disappointing waiting for Verizon to release the next update for my BB. As much I would l like to come back to BB I don't want to compromise for less.