SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- BlackBerry Inc. on Tuesday touted the fact that many of the early buyers of its new Z10 smartphone are new to the company's mobile platform, which may signal some competitive traction for the struggling smartphone maker.
At a conference for the company's enterprise customers and developers in San Francisco on Tuesday, Richard Piasentin of BlackBerry said more than half of the customers who have purchased the Z10 in Canada since its launch there are new to the BlackBerry family.
Piasentin, who runs the company's U.S. business, said more than 33% of Z10 buyers in the U.K. are also new to the platform. The Z10 is still on track for a U.S. launch in mid-March, though no specific date has yet been given.
BlackBerry shares were trading down more than 4% to $12.67 by midday Tuesday afternoon, as the event was under way.
BlackBerry officially debuted its BlackBerry 10 platform a month ago, with initial plans to launch to new handsets for the OS this year. The full touch-screen Z10 has launched in the U.K., Canada, France and Germany and rolled out to India this week.
The Q10, which features a QWERTY keypad that is popular with a core base of BlackBerry users, is expected to launch later in the year, though no specific plans have yet been announced by the company.
BlackBerry is pushing hard to revive its once market-leading smartphone brand that has come under intense competitive pressure from Apple's iPhone and a line of devices using Google's Android platform -- most notably the Galaxy line from Samsung .
According to IDC, the BlackBerry platform accounted for about 4.5% of global smartphone shipments in 2012 -- down 36% from its market share in the prior year.
The company is also contending with Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform, which could build on the strong enterprise base of the flagship Windows operating system and hurt BlackBerry's hold on this segment. Nokia is the main handset vendor building Windows Phone devices.