Earlier this month, BlackBerry (BBRY) confirmed that an undisclosed partner agreed to purchase one million new BlackBerry 10 smartphones. According to AllThingsD, the purchase, which was the single largest in BlackBerry’s history, came from an electronics distributor known as Brightstar. Research firm Detwiler Fenton notes that the company handles most of Verizon’s (VZ) big-box retail distribution, and the partnership gives the carrier less risk if BlackBerry 10 fails to appeal to consumers because it can offload unsold inventory onto the third-party distributor. Verizon usually distributes devices it believes will be popular among consumers by itself, rather than relying on a third-party. This is not the case for BlackBerry 10, though.
“Our checks indicate the order was from Brightstar, whom Verizon is relying upon to handle the big-box retail and dealer agent channels,” Detwiler Fenton managing director Mark Gerber said to AllThingsD. “It suggests Verizon doesn’t believe this will be a strong seller, since it normally tries to allocate hot product on its own.”
Although BlackBerry Z10 sales are believed to be better than expected, the smartphone has debuted to far less fanfare in the United States compared to competing smartphones from Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (005930).