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BB: Shares rise on order for 1 million Blackberry 10 units

A man holds the new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10

A man holds the new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone during a launch event for the new phone in London. (Jan. 30, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker that rolled out a new lineup in January, said one of its "established partners" is buying 1 million BlackBerry 10s, the biggest order in the company's history.

"An order for 1 million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10," Rick Costanzo, executive vice president of global sales for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, said Wednesday in a statement.

Krista Seggewiss, a spokeswoman for BlackBerry, declined to say who the buyer was or define what the company meant by an "established partner." BlackBerry works with corporate customers, government agencies and all the largest U.S. carriers.

Verizon Wireless, the biggest mobile service in the U.S., didn't immediately return a call seeking comment on whether it was involved in the transaction. AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., the No. 2 and No. 3 wireless providers, declined to comment.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion Ltd., unveiled the BB10 lineup in January. The new phones, which run a redesigned operating system, are the linchpin of its comeback strategy. After pioneering the smartphone market, the company's global share slipped to single digits amid competition from Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google Inc.'s Android.


The shares jumped 8.2 percent to $15.65 Friday in New York after the announcement. BlackBerry's stock has climbed 32 percent this year.

Separately, Verizon said it will begin taking preorders for the Z10, the flagship BlackBerry 10 model. Verizon will start selling the phone in its stores on March 28. The company is following rival AT&T, which began taking preorders on March 12, ahead of the device going on sale March 22.

The U.S. rollout of the Z10 trails its debut in other countries, a delay that BlackBerry has attributed to a lengthier testing process by American carriers. The U.K. and Canada were the first to offer the phone, within a week of its Jan. 30 unveiling.

A separate model called the Q10, which comes with BlackBerry's hallmark physical keyboard, will be available in April or May, BlackBerry has said.

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