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BB10 ships in Canada, good signs in UK

Strong early indicators in Europe build confidence in the Z10 handset, but the US launch will be the real test


Published: 6 February, 2013

READ MORE: UK | Research In Motion | BlackBerry | Handset

BlackBerry 10 is off to an encouraging start in Europe, according to reports, though Thorsten Heins, CEO of the vendor - now also called BlackBerry - says he is "disappointed" that the new flagship handset, the Z10, will not be available in the critical US market until next month.

US performance will be the most important near term indicator of whether BB10 has a real chance of improving BlackBerry's fortunes in the smartphone market, but for now, at least there are some good signs elsewhere, mainly the UK. Traditionally one of BlackBerry's strongest territories, the UK has delivered better early sales of the Z10 than the company had predicted, Heins told Associated Press.

"It's beyond expectations," he said,. "The white is sold out already. The black is hard to stock up again. It's very encouraging. I won't share the number because I need to verify it, but we are getting a substantial number of users moving from other platforms to BlackBerry. That is an interesting data point."

The Z10 also shipped in BlackBerry's native Canada on Wednesday, and despite the wait for a US launch, the product will be offered by all four nationwide US cellcos, even if dates are not set in stone yet.

"We have grown more confident in the likely success of the BlackBerry 10 launch, supported by low channel inventories, strong operator support and material pent-up demand," said analyst Pierre Ferragu of Sanford Bernstein, as quoted by AllThingsD. "Even if the long term prospects for the platform are very uncertain, we believe all is in place for BlackBerry 10 to enjoy a great [US] debut."

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