As Z10 preorders start, BlackBerry nets huge order for new devices

In the same week that AT&T and Verizon begin preorders for the new BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry reveals that it has received an order for a historic 1 million new devices.

Customers can preorder the new BlackBerry Z10 with AT&T and Verizon this week. Josh Miller/CNET

BlackBerry announced today that an "established partner" has ordered 1 million BlackBerry 10 devices. Though a company spokeswoman declined to name the partner in a phone call with CNET, the order is the largest single purchase in the company's history.

The news came just as Verizon Wireless revealed that it would start accepting preorders for the new BlackBerry Z10 beginning at 8 a.m. ET tomorrow. Devices will then arrive in stores and be available for direct purchase online two weeks later on March 28.

Big Red, which promised that it would carry the Z10 moments after its January 30 unveiling, will sell the smartphone for $199 with a two-year contract. Customers can choose from either or black or white models; the latter color is a Verizon exclusive.

The Z10 is the first device to use the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which brings a completely redesigned interface and new features for which BlackBerry fans have long waited. Additional Z10 highlights include an 8-megapixel camera, an all-touch-screen design with a 4.2-inch display, and a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor.

Verizon's announcement comes one day after rival carrier AT&T initiated Z10 preorders for a scheduled March 22 release. Though a rumor last week suggested that AT&T could move up that sale date to this Friday, the carrier has not confirmed the change.

Both Verizon and AT&T also will sell the keyboard-equipped Q10, but neither provider has announced a release date. T-Mobile said it will carry just the Z10, and Sprint has committed to a 4G LTE BlackBerry Q10.

After today's developments, BlackBerry's shares on Nasdaq rose 8 percent to $15.62. Shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange also climbed 8.3 percent to 16.06 Canadian dollars ($15.63).

 

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