BlackBerry's latest handset makes secret global debut at Selfridges

BlackBerry's latest handset makes secret global debut at Selfridges

The Q10, the first new device from the embittered smartphone company to run its latest operating system and to feature a full QWERTY keyboard as well as a touch screen, is viewed by industry experts and die-hard BlackBerry fans alike as the key device in determining if the company still has a future and, as such a huge launch event had been expected.

However, in an event that was so low key that only those with a Twitter account or a Selfridges store card seemed to be in the know, the handset magically appeared for its first public appearance in the world at the London, Birmingham and Manchester branches of the UK's fashionable department store over the weekend.

Despite the publicity blackout, Selfridges Monday morning released a statement claiming that the Q10 is the fastest-selling consumer electronics product the store has ever stocked. "Selfridges' initial stock of the BlackBerry Q10 sold out in stores within two hours. Stock of the BlackBerry Q10 is being continually delivered on the hour, every hour to keep up with demand."

Demand for the device, which was on sale for £579.99 (around US$900), was such that potential customers were forced to queue in two lines -- one for single unit sales and one for bulk buying -- as consumers and corporate IT clients jostled for position.

The handset was expected to make its global debut in its home country, Canada, on May 1.