BlackBerry Q10 Sells Out In London Store

Selfridges, which became the first British outlet to sell the new BlackBerry Q10, sold out first wave of smartphones in two hours.
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
BlackBerry 10: Visual Tour Of Smartphones, OS
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The BlackBerry Q10 has become the fastest-ever selling consumer electronics product for the high-end British department store chain Selfridges.

The device went on sale exclusively at the chain's flagship Oxford St. London store over the weekend, and the entire initial run of the pricey £696 ($1,077) phones was sold out within two hours.

BlackBerry U.K. said it had to make hourly delivery runs to the Carphone Warehouse concession selling the handheld inside the shop to keep up with customer demand. Officially, no actual sales data's been released, but at least one report suggests 2,000 units were sold in the first 90 minutes in London. Selfridges claimed similar success at its Birmingham and Manchester stores.

[ Old-school BlackBerry fan? Read BlackBerry Q10: The QWERTY Phone To Beat. ]

Who were these enthusiastic buyers -- BlackBerry enthusiasts, corporate IT types, or sharp operators looking to sell on? It appears the latter two categories of buyer scooped up most of the phones. At least one report suggested the main purchasers were representatives of businesses, buying in bulk; another eye-witness claimed that some people, possibly exporters, were buying 30 or more units at once, thus laying down £18,000 ($28,000) or more for one transaction.

"The BlackBerry Q10 has been, without a doubt, the most highly anticipated smartphone we have ever sold and is already our most successful [one]," said Julian Slim, the store's head of home and leisure.

Carphone Warehouse chairman Sir Charles Dunstone was pleased as well. "We have never seen any product sell that amount of volume in such a short space of time -- it was incredible. We are expecting the nationwide launch of the BlackBerry Q10 to be huge for both BlackBerry and [us]," he said. Carphone Warehouse has 1,700 stores throughout Europe. The BlackBerry Q10 will be available generally on Tuesday, April 30.

The strong initial sales have to be very good news for BlackBerry, which has staked a lot on the Q10. "This initial success at Selfridges highlights the strong consumer demand for a high-end physical keyboard smartphone," said UK and Ireland managing director Rob Orr.

However, industry watchers cautioned that the strong initial day is not indicative of how well even the smartphone-mad British public will take to the device, and might simply reflect a launch event boosted by a restricted release.