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BlackBerry sells 1 million BlackBerry Z10 smartphones

BlackBerry Z10 won't be launching in Japan.
Josh Miller/CNET

Don't call it a comeback -- BlackBerry has been here all along.

The company announced Thursday that is has sold 1 million smartphones running on its new mobile operating system BlackBerry 10.  And the BlackBerry Z10 isn't just being snatched up by loyal fans of the once-dominant smartphone.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins says about 55 percent of the people buying a Z10 are crossing over from different platforms. Heins did not say from which company customers made the switch.

"We're pretty excited by the stats we're getting from the market," Heins said during an earnings call with the press. "It's a strong testament to the strength of the product and differentiating elements."

BlackBerry's earnings report also marks a return to profitability for the company. The 1 million new touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 phones were above the 915,000 that analysts had been expecting. Details on U.S. sales are not part of the fiscal fourth quarter's financial results because the Z10 just became available there last week, after the quarter ended.

The new BlackBerry 10 phones are redesigned for the new multimedia, Internet browsing and apps experience that customers are now demanding.

The Z10 has received favorable reviews since its release, but the launch in the critical U.S. market was delayed until late this month as wireless carriers completed their testing.

A version with a physical keyboard, called the Q10, won't be released in the U.S. for two or three more months. The delay in selling the Q10 complicates BlackBerry's efforts to hang on to customers tempted by the iPhone and a range of devices running Google Inc.'s Android operating system. Even as the BlackBerry has fallen behind rivals in recent years, many users have stayed loyal because they prefer a physical keyboard over the touch screen on the iPhone and most Android devices.