Four months ago BlackBerry boss Thorsten Heins predicted the QWERTY-esque Q10 would sell in the “tens of millions” as consumers and businesses alike embraced the keyboard-equipped BB10 handset like a long-lost relative.
Four month later, and the reality appears to be a little different, with widespread reports claiming sales of the Q10 simply haven't gotten off the ground.
The Wall Street Journal says several carrier executives and retailers in the US and Canada have reported Q10 sales to be “dismal”, with one exec saying it had “just hit the ground and died”.
BlackBerry is famed for its QWERTY smartphones, but outside of basic feature phones the mobile industry these days is almost completely a world of touchscreens. And so while the Q10 is without doubt the best QWERTY phone around right now, the demand for phones with keyboards just doesn't seem to be there any more.
One US vendor selling Verizon devices claimed “we saw virtually no demand for the Q10 and eventually returned most to our equipment vendor”.
The WSJ says retailers are also seeing a lack of upgrade action, suggesting that previous BlackBerry owners have already jumped ship, probably during the complete no-show of new devices from the Canadian firm in 2012.
“We thought there would be a pocket of die-hard BlackBerry enthusiasts waiting to upgrade, but it seems they have already moved on,” one representative reported.
BlackBerry fans will no doubt point out this is just the opinion of a tiny sample of the whole market presented as a market-wide trend, but in truth it's an easy theory to believe. Critics have slammed the Q10 as being too expensive for what it is, and BlackBerry itself has thus far failed to say even one word about how many BB10 devices have actually been sold to date, which would be the one sure fire way to end the rumours in their tracks.
And yes, it's true that corporate clients invariably move slower than consumers, and could yet prove the doubters wrong by jumping on board with the Q10 en masse in the months to come, would you be willing to put any money on it?