The immediate fate of BlackBerry’s new smartphone push may soon be revealed. That’s because AT&T has kicked off pre-sales of the Z10 smartphone.

AT&T is offering the BlackBerry device for $199.99 with a two-year contract. The phone hits AT&T store shelves on March 22.

The BlackBerry Z10 is the first smartphone to launch with the new BlackBerry 10 platform, which was delayed several times before launching.

The BlackBerry Z10 uses a touchscreen keyboard. The BlackBerry Q10, with a physical keyboard, is expected to go on sale later this spring. The BlackBerry Z10 also features a high-resolution 4.2-inch display and an 8-megapixel camera that records 1080p HD video.

Price Just Right

Carl Howe, vice president of Research and Data Sciences at Yankee Group, told us he believes the Z10 pricing is just right.

“The pricing parity with devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and the iPhone 5 positions the Z10 as a…’hero’ smartphone of the same caliber, not as a discounted entry-level smartphone, as we’ve seen with some Windows Phone devices,” Howe said. “Yes, this means that consumers can choose other phones for the same price, but it also means that dyed-in-the-wool BlackBerry fans can choose their favorite platform without having to pay a premium for it.”

Howe said he wouldn’t discount BlackBerry’s ability to recapture some of its prior users with the new devices. BlackBerry has focused its OS experience on its core strengths of messaging and e-mail, he said, simply because those are tools that people use to get work done.

“That emphasis is what originally won people to the BlackBerry platform in the early 2000s, and I believe that segment is eager for a smartphone with that same emphasis,” Howe said. “I think we’ll only get a true measure of how big that segment is when the keyboard-based Q10 comes out in a…