BlackBerry (RIMM)’s new Z10 smartphone is attracting bids of as much as $1,775 on EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s auction site, a sign of early demand for the device in the U.S., where it doesn’t go on sale till next month.
As of this afternoon, a BlackBerry Z10 receiving 14 bids reached that price on EBay’s site. In another auction, one of the phones climbed to $1,625, with 27 bids. Phones on EBay are typically sold “unlocked,” meaning they don’t require a carrier contract. When the Z10 officially goes on sale in the U.S., the unlocked version is expected to cost $599.
BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, unveiled the new phone this week and made it available to U.K. wireless subscribers through Vodafone Group Plc and other carriers. It goes on sale in Canada on Feb. 5 and in the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 10. U.S. consumers, meanwhile, don’t have a firm release date for the phone, which is expected sometime in March.
BlackBerry is counting on the Z10 to reverse sales declines and win over users of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930)’s Galaxy. While the phone garnered positive reviews for its intuitive keyboard and other features, BlackBerry’s stock tumbled this week, dragged down by concerns about the slow U.S. release.
Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins has said lengthy device testing at AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless is the main reason for the delay. When the Z10 does go on sale in the U.S., it will cost about $199 on a two-year contract and $599 without one, Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry has said.
BCE Inc. (BCE), Canada’s largest phone company, is offering the phone for C$149.95 ($150) with a three-year contract and C$649.95 with no commitment.
After five days of declines, BlackBerry shares climbed 0.4 percent today to $13.03 in New York. The stock rose 9.4 percent in January.
---With assistance from Doug Alexander in Toronto. Editor: Nick Turner, Niamh Ring
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