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BlackBerry’s Passport smartphones are displayed during a product announcement in Toronto, on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg

BlackBerry's initial sales of its new Passport smartphone may pale in comparison to those of the latest iPhone but they still bode well for the Waterloo, Ont.-based company, says veteran industry analyst Jack Gold.

On Friday, BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the company had sold 200,000 of the square-screened device with a keyboard and touchscreen in the two days since its launch. By then the device was out of stock on the websites of Amazon, Future Shop and Best Buy, with fresh shipments due Wednesday. By contrast, Apple's two new iPhone 6 devices sold 10 million units in their first weekend. All three major Canadian carriers – Telus, Bell and Rogers – are selling the Passport, but giving prominence to the iPhone 6 on their websites, while mention of the Passport is tucked away in the "BlackBerry" sections of their devices web pages.

To put the two sales figures side by side would be like comparing apples to blackberries, says Mr. Gold, of independent J. Gold Associates in Northborough, Mass. "It's not a fair comparison, given [BlackBerry is] focused on enterprise users" and has turned away from consumers, says Mr. Gold.

He noted the figure is significant for BlackBerry given the company only sold 2.4 million devices in its second quarter, and that the device has yet to go on sale in the U.S., where it will be carried by AT&T. "The numbers may go up significantly once [AT&T] do have them in their stores," Mr. Gold said.

Mr. Chen has said the company can break even selling 10 million devices per year, and has indicated the Passport is just a warm-up for the introduction of a device called the Classic later this year, modelled on its once-popular Bold smartphone, with more new products to follow. Many observers treat the oddly-shaped Passport as a niche device that will only appear to hard core business users, but "BlackBerry only needs to sell 10 million to 15 million Passports in total to have a major success," Mr. Gold said.

Other analysts are holding the applause. Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha said in a note Monday that despite the "encouraging" Passport sales figures, "sustainable sell through will prove challenging in the hyper competitive smartphone market." Indeed, sales activity in the cellular device market is heavily driven by marketing and advertising campaigns, and BlackBerry continues to be vastly outspent by Apple and Samsung in promoting their phones.

Mr. Garcha and others are also concerned about the steady decline in BlackBerry's high-margin service revenues that flow from monthly fees the company charges carriers for its data services.

Mr. Chen is hoping to make up for the decline in services revenues – which amounted to $424-million (U.S.) in the quarter, down 18.3 per cent from the preceding quarter – with new software offerings, including an upgrade to the software enterprises used to manage mobile devices.

In response to Mr. Gelblum's note, BlackBerry said in a statement to The Globe that the upgrade effort "has been a successful program by all accounts."

In a note Monday, Citi analyst Ehud Gelblum noted BlackBerry has only converted about 2.5 million enterprise subscribers to upgrade to the new software, amounting to barely 10 per cent of the number managed through its older software.

That "[implies] that the vast majority of enterprises that once used BlackBerry appear to have little intention" of using the upgraded software, Mr. Gelblum wrote. That suggests challenges ahead for the company to win back enterprise users from rival services like Mobile Iron, which gained enterprise customers when BlackBerry was slow to offer them the ability to manage non-BlackBerry devices through its server software.