BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) said an unnamed "established" partner placed an order for one million BlackBerry 10 smartphones, with shipments starting immediately, and noted that order represents the largest single purchase order in BlackBerry's history.
The company gave no indication as to what type of partner placed the order, and it could be a government, enterprise or wireless carrier. Nonetheless, investors cheered the news, sending BlackBerry's stock up on Wednesday. BlackBerry will deliver quarterly results March 28 and may give more color on the purchase and its early BlackBerry 10 sales then.
In addition to the purchase announcement, BlackBerry also said it will launch a solution that will separate and secure work and personal data on mobile devices for third party platforms, including Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. A similar feature, called BlackBerry Balance, is a core part of BB10. The new feature will be available by the end of June and will be managed through BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10. BES10 already offer mobile device management capabilities for Android and iOS devices.
The new security service, called Secure Work Space, is another one of BlackBerry's attempts to make the best of the bring-your-own-device market. BYOD has helped erode BlackBerry's market share the past several years as people bring their Android smartphones and iPhones to work and use them as their enterprise devices. BlackBerry said the new service will allow enterprises and governments to more easily and securely support BYOD policies for iOS and Android devices.
Separately, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it will start taking orders for the BlackBerry Z10, the company's flagship touchscreen BB10 device. Verizon said customers can now pre-order the gadget, and the carrier said it will go on sale online and in stores starting March 28 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) will start selling the Z10 on March 22 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile USA has started taking pre-orders for the Z10 for business customers for $249.99 on a two-year Classic plan; the carrier said pricing for consumers may be different.
Analysts said BlackBerry's momentum is generally positive. "The combination of these three announcements gives us more comfort in our May quarter" forecast of 2.5 million BlackBerry 10 unit sales, wrote Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um.
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