Blackberry Shares Jump on Order for One Million BB10 Phones

Andrew Klips  |

Wednesday was a busy day for BlackBerry, Inc. (BBRY) with shares stagnating early, seesawing between small gains and losses until late afternoon news sent shares of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company galloping ahead by 10 percent.  BlackBerry said that one of its partners, whom went unnamed, placed an order for one million BlackBerry 10 smartphones.  The company said that shipments are to begin immediately.

It was the largest single purchase order in BlackBerry’s history.

"An order for one million devices is a tremendous vote of confidence in BlackBerry 10," said Rick Costanzo, executive vice president of global sales at BlackBerry. "Consumers are ready for a new user experience, and BlackBerry 10 delivers. With strong partner support, coupled with this truly re-invented new platform, we have a powerful recipe for success," Costanzo concluded.

The flagship BlackBerry Z10 is set to launch in the U.S. next Friday, March 22.  It is already available in 21 other countries, including Canada, the U.K., Germany and more.  No launch date has yet been reported for the BlackBerry Q10, a new product revealed in January that features a physical keyboard (reminiscent of the legacy BlackBerry phones).

BlackBerry also said on Wednesday that it has launched the popular WhatsApp Messenger application for its BB 10 platform.  WhatsApp Messenger is a cross platform mobile messaging app that lets users exchange messages with paying for text costs.  The app integrates with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows phone and Nokia to allow users to either independently message others on different operating systems and providers or create groups to share thoughts, video and audio messages.

It’s expected that the social app will leverage BlackBerry’s new Flow feature, which allows apps to work together, sharing information for efficiency and speed in multi-tasking.

Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ), the largest wireless provider in the U.S., reported Wednesday that it will begin selling the new Z10 in stores and online of March 28.  The phone will sell for the same price as rival AT&T (T) will be selling in on March 22, $199.99 with a two-year contract.  Verizon said that it will begin taking pre-orders on Thursday for the Z10 smartphone.  AT&T started taking pre-orders today.

All of today’s news came surging in at approximately the same time, giving shares of BBRY a late day lift to close regular trading ahead by 8 percent with the momentum continuing into extended traded.  Shares were trading at $16 per share after hours, up by more than 10 percent for the day.

Investors will be looking for information on sales when BlackBerry reports results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal 2013 year on March 28.

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