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The launch of an Apple product results in lines that stretch for blocks outside of the company’s retail locations. When the latest Samsung Galaxy phone becomes available, news outlets are all over it. When BlackBerry launches a phone it hopes will return it to smartphone domination… crickets.

blackberry-z10BlackBerry’s touch-screen Z10 phone goes on sale today in the United States — first on AT&T and then on T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in a week. The device runs the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will take market share back from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms.

BlackBerry 10 does some innovative things. The internal hardware isn’t bad. The display is fairly high resolution (1280 x 768, 355 PPI). And there are about 100,000 apps available for BB10, though a fair amount of those are Android ports. So what is it, then, that makes the BlackBerry Z10 so unexciting?

It’s likely the sheer amount of available smartphones in the market today. Apple alone is selling three different iPhone models: its new iPhone 5, the last-generation iPhone 4S and the nearly three year-old iPhone 4. As far as Android goes, devices running Google’s open-source mobile operating system have flooded the market with both cheap and premium smartphone options. And Windows Phone 7 and 8 devices are in the mix, too. In that context, maybe consumers aren’t all that interested in another smartphone platform, even if it is the legendary BlackBerry.

We’ve also been down this road before with BlackBerry. Remember the Storm and the Storm 2? These were touch-screen devices that were supposed to change the way BlackBerry approached the smartphone. But instead of blazing a trail with those products, BlackBerry was chasing down the superior user experience of the iPhone. It tried to put its own spin on that experience, and the Storm and Storm 2 smartphones wound up being universally panned.

Based on BlackBerry’s past failure to enter the touch-screen smartphone market, as well as the wealth of other smartphones with more established ecosystems, consumers might not see a whole lot to get excited about with the Z10. And based on BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins’ admission that a better device would be out later in the year, BlackBerry itself might share that sentiment.

What are your thoughts on the Z10? Will you be picking one up today or sticking with your current device? Give us a shout.

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