BlackBerry Receives Record Corporate Order
Canadian Tire Corp., the sporting-goods and auto-parts retailer, has ordered 3,000 BlackBerry 10 smartphones in what Bloomberg described as the biggest corporate purchase on record for the devices. The news comes ahead of the planned launch of BlackBerry’s new handset – the Q10 – which is expected to go on sale in Canada in the coming weeks. BlackBerry’s share price rose 2.5 percent to $13.84 at the close in New York on April 19.
In an attempt to reverse its fortunes, BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY), the struggling Canadian manufacturer, last year launched a new proprietary operating system for mobile devices – the BlackBerry 10 – that would power a new line of handsets consisting of two models – the touch screen-based Z10 and the Q10, which is featuring Blackberry’s signature physical keyboard. The Z10, considered to be the company’s flagship phone, made its sales debut in the UK and Canada in February, while US sales started about a month later. The smartphone earned positive reviews from critics for its multitasking software and virtual keyboard, but concerns over less-than-expected sales have caused BlackBerry’s share price to fall 23 percent since peaking in January, Bloomberg noted. About one million Z10 phones were sold last quarter, according to the company.
Big corporate orders such as the one from Canadian Tire could bolster sales and help handsets running on BlackBerry 10 become a success for the smartphone maker. An order of 3,000 units could hardly scare majors like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. (KRX:005930) but it could be a sign that big companies, especially from Canada, might be willing to support BlackBerry by purchasing large volumes of handsets for their employees.
News about the order followed last month’s announcement by BlackBerry that one of the company’s “established partners” had placed an order for one million BlackBerry 10 smartphones (Biggest Order Ever Fuels Optimism at BlackBerry ).
BlackBerry’s spokeswoman Krista Seggewiss had declined to comment on whether the Canadian Tire deal was the biggest BlackBerry 10 order announced by a corporate customer, Bloomberg noted.
While BlackBerry has initially pinned most of its hopes for recovery on the Z10 – a device designed in line with the latest trends in the smartphone market -, Q10 may turn out to be the ace in the hole for the company. By deciding to not include a physical keyboard in the Z10 handset BlackBerry has alienated many of its loyalists who had hoped to see the company’s signature feature included in its latest offerings. With Q10, BlackBerry is likely to win these customers back. Besides, by offering a reliable physical keyboard, the upcoming handset may have a stronger appeal as a business phone than the Z10, meaning that it could help BlackBerry earn more corporate customers.
!m[Canadian Tire Arms Its Ranks with BlackBerry 10](/uploads/story/1954/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)
The Q10 is expected to go on sale in Canada in coming weeks, local carrier Rogers Communications Inc. said earlier this month. Rogers and other Canadian carriers has already begun taking pre-orders for the handset, Bloomberg said.
**Blackberry’s share price was $13.84 as of 10.28 GMT, 22.04.2013**
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