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RIM hails ‘best day ever’ for a Canadian BlackBerry launch

Research In Motion Ltd. President and CEO Thorsten Heins, right, and Rogers Communications Inc. President and CEO Nadir Mohamed show off their BlackBerry Z10 devices before presenting one to the first customer at a store in Toronto on Feb. 5, 2013.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

The launch of the much hyped BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in Canada on Tuesday was the best debut of any of Research In Motion Ltd.'s previous BlackBerrys, the company said in a brief statement on Wednesday.

"In Canada, yesterday was the best day ever for the first day of a launch of a new BlackBerry smartphone," RIM's chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said. "In fact, it was more than 50 [per cent] better than any other launch day in our history in Canada."

Mark Langton, a spokesman for BCE Inc.'s Bell Mobility, said that Tueday saw the "biggest day one sales" of any previous BlackBerry device, and that a large number were people upgrading from older BlackBerrys. Rogers Communications Inc., meanwhile, said it sold more BlackBerrys on the Z10's Feb. 5 launch date than on any other day since helping launch BlackBerry service in 1999 – and noted that some stores had temporarily sold out of the device.

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RIM, which has lost a huge amount of market share mainly to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., is counting on the new device to win back consumers in a number of developed markets. The BlackBerry Z10, a touchscreen device slightly bigger than an iPhone, runs a brand new operating system that is sleeker and more functional than RIM's previous BlackBerrys.

The device has received positive reviews and analysts have reported strong pre-orders and pre-registrations, as well as strong demand at stores in the U.K. Canadian wireless operators said pre-registrations hit record numbers for a BlackBerry, a device that has generally seen dwindling sales over the past few years.

RIM also noted that demand in the U.K. appeared to be strong.

"In the U.K., we have seen close to three times our best performance ever for the first week of sales for a BlackBerry smartphone," Mr. Heins also said.

The company didn't immediately provide any actual sales numbers.

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