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BlackBerry Gains as Z10 Goes On Sale

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - BlackBerry's (BBRY - Get Report) new Z10 smartphone goes on sale in the United States today, a big test for the company formerly known as Research in Motion.

BlackBerry was rising in early morning trading to $16.67, poised for a five-day advance of 11%.

The Z10 is the first of two completely new redesigns coming from the Waterloo, Ontario-based technology company. BlackBerry introduced the phone two months ago in a gala NYC presentation and has received plenty of praise fron consumer outside the U.S. As of this morning, AT&T (T - Get Report) becomes the first U.S. carrier to begin selling BlackBerry's revamped touchscreen design. Verizon (VZ - Get Report) and T-Mobile will follow shortly though Sprint (S) has yet to announce its Z10 plans.

We have been using our test sample for nearly two months now and appreciate what the new phone can do. Even though the new BlackBerry operating system (OS 10) can be cumbersome at first, all the gestures become second nature once you get the hang of it.

The Z10 will be one of the first handsets that T-Mobile is expected to use with their 'super-fast' LTE 4G data network. That may occur as soon as next week.

According to preliminary numbers from the company, Z10 sales have been very promising in Great Britain and the company's home Canadian market. BlackBerry, of course, is hoping for similar result in the U.S., their largest market.

Earlier this week, analysts at Morgan Stanley (MS - Get Report) gave BlackBerry stock a big boost by raising its rating to buy from sell on the possibility that the new device should help the company compete with Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Samsung.

A second new model, the upcoming Q10, with BlackBerry's legendary QWERTY keyboard, is due as early as next month.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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