Published March 14, 2013
That's a whole lot of pie!
An undisclosed customer bought a million BlackBerrys from the smartphone maker formerly known as Research In Motion -- marking the largest ever single purchase in the company's history.
These aren't the business basic gadgets of years past, of course: The Canadian company unveiled the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 in January to rave reviews from tech watchers worldwide. The company hopes the redesigned BlackBerry will fuel a comeback -- and orders of this magnitude suggest it may be working.
The pioneering brand lost its cachet not long after Apple's 2007 release of the iPhone, which reset consumers' expectations for what a smartphone should do.
The Z10 is already available for purchase in a number of markets around the world; it will begin selling the touchscreen smartphone to U.S. consumers with AT&T on March 22 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. Sales of the device began in the U.K. and Canada shortly after RIM unveiled the phone in late January.
Rival U.S. carrier T-Mobile said it expects to deliver the new BlackBerry for some corporate customers as soon as the end of this week, though it did not provide details on the availability for non-business customers.
RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said previously he was disappointed the new BlackBerry would not be released in the U.S. until mid-March, but he said the U.S. and its phone carriers have a rigid testing system.
Heins told The Associated Press last month that the company would have to regain market share in the U.S. for BlackBerry to be successful. The U.S. has been one market in which RIM has been particularly hurt. The iPhone and phones running Google's Android software now dominate. According to research firm IDC, shipments of BlackBerry phones plummeted from 46 percent of the U.S. market in 2008 to 2 percent in 2012.
Heins also suggested to the AP that a modern BlackBerry with a physical keyboard might not arrive in the U.S. until May or June, a month or two behind other parts of the world. Heins said the physical keyboard version, the BlackBerry Q10, will likely come out eight to 10 weeks after a carrier releases a model with only a touch screen, the BlackBerry Z10.
BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis noted RIM's U.S. release will go up against Samsung's next Galaxy smartphone which is expected to be unveiled on Thursday.
"If that makes the splash that people think it may, you don't want to be the guy that's coming out a week later," Gillis said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.