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Could RIM sell 2.6 million BB10s in Canada over next year?

A person uses the new Blackberry Z10 device at a Rogers store in Toronto on Feb. 5, 2013. A poll from Forum Research Inc. says that as many as 2.6-million Z10 devices could be sold in Canada over the next year.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Roughly 8 per cent of Canadians are "almost certain" to buy one of Research In Motion Ltd.'s new BlackBerry BB10 smartphones, according to a new poll suggesting the company could sell as many as 2.6 million of the devices in Canada over the next year.

Forum Research Inc. conducted the poll on Feb. 6, a day after RIM launched the new smartphone in Canada with an advertising blitz. Thorsten Heins, RIM's CEO, also made multiple media appearances in Toronto, where many investors, wireless industry executives and others have followed the company's fall from grace and recent momentum with great interest.

The firm asked 1,091 people in Canada, aged 18 or older, whether they would buy a BlackBerry 10 phone. About 8 per cent said they were "almost certain" to buy one of the devices, while 19 per cent said they are "very likely" to buy one, according to the poll, which led Forum Research to suggest RIM may sell anywhere from 1.2 million to 2.6 million devices.

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Previously, Byron Capital Markets analyst Tom Astle estimated that RIM may sell up to 40 million of its BlackBerry 10 devices over the next year, with about 15 million units shipping to customers who already have a current BlackBerry smartphones in the U.K, Canada, Europe and the U.S., where the new device won't launch until March.

Mr. Astle also suggested that existing BlackBerry users in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Venezuela and Nigeria will account for just 7 million units, given the higher prices of these high-end devices. He also suggests there is a large group of former BlackBerry users who have since switched, who may turn back to RIM.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a smartphone maker traditionally beloved by business people, the device seemed to be most popular among those making $100,000 or more per year, and among those aged 35 to 44. At the same time, the firm said "almost no one in our sample claims to have bought" one of the BlackBerry 10 phones already, just one day after launch. About two-thirds of the sample, about 64 per cent, said they were "unlikely" to buy one. The poll's results are considered accurate plus or minus 3 per cent, 19 times out of 20, Forum Research said.

RIM, which has ceded market share to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in many markets, stopped issuing guidance to investors as its position in the market worsened.

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