The Z10, announced by BlackBerry last week, went on sale in the U.K. on Friday, Feb. 1. The Z10 is a touch phone that has a 4.2-inch HD display, a 1.5-GHz dual-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera, a removable battery, and 16 GB of on-board storage.
Bernstein's Ferragu conducted retail checks at stores across the U.K. and said, "We have grown more confident in the likely success of the BlackBerry 10 launch, supported by low channel inventories, strong operator support and material pent-up demand. Initial feedback we have received from distributors on the first days of sales is particularly positive."
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Barclays' Kvaal performed channel checks of his own, and heard the same things from U.K. wireless retailers. Some stores were selling through their inventory, while others reported low stock thanks to strong sales.
"Our recent store checks suggest that initial sales of the BlackBerry Z10 are off to a solid, if not healthy start in the U.K.," said Kvaal. "We believe this is a function of strong sell-through versus limited sell-in. We believe BlackBerry's Z10 is off to a better start than the Lumia 920. The solid initial demand is a positive step in our view, despite the number of challenges that remain."
It is important to note that such channel checks aren't necessarily proof positive that BlackBerry 10 is going to be a success. Far from it. Initial sales success is good, but sustained sales would be better. There are also no details about the initial supply of devices given to retailers. For all we know, these stores were given a dozen phones each. These reflect the sales at a handful of stores in a single market. BlackBerry 10 has yet to launch in more than 100 markets worldwide.
Canada, BlackBerry's home market, launches BB10 today through several of the country's wireless network operators including Bell, Rogers and Telus. Canada's second-largest provider, BCE-run Bell, reported record preorders for the Z10 smartphone.
The Z10 goes on sale in the U.S. in March and the Q10 is expected to go on sale in April. There's no word yet about demand for either BlackBerry 10 device in the U.S.
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