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It will also be sold through Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Fone Zone retail chains.Heins – who had spent a very wet weekend in Melbourne watching, and photographing, the Australian Grand Prix, where driver Lewis Hamilton finished fifth in his Blackberry brand-adorned Mercedes – said Australia had been selected as one of the top 10 countries to receive the new Blackberry line, because it was recognised as one of the most advanced markets in terms of innovation and use of mobiles in business.

Watched – it is believed – closely by the ACCC and ACMA, Telstra and Optus have been accepting “pre-orders” for the Z10, even though pricing details were not available until recently. Harvey Norman has also been taking “pre-orders”- at $733.

(The industry has yet to spell out exactly how “pre-orders” differ from “orders”, but it’s presumed one difference is that a customer can pull out without penalty should the pricing turn out to be beyond normal expectations).

Yesterday’s launch at Sydney’s Star casino complex was a mammoth affair, running for around six hours and attended by more than 700 mostly dark-suited folk, the majority of them Telstra and Optus customers or partners, CDN was told.

At an ensuing media conference, the amiable Heins politely declined to answer any questions concerning how well or otherwise the Z10 was selling in the eight or nine Top 10 countries which had an early break on Australia, on the grounds that the company is in a stock exchange-imposed “quiet period” ahead of its latest quarterly results.

He also brushed off questions concerning rumours of a takeover bid by Lenovo, or whether the company was contemplating a new Blackberry 10-powered tablet. The future, he stressed, would be all about “mobile computing” as a platform, not individual devices – but he strongly suggested automotive technology will play a major part in Blackberry’s plans.

– CDN notes the next F1 automotive event is the Malaysian Grand Prix next Sunday, March 24. And over drinkies in the Star Event bar after yesterday’s presentation, we were quietly advised Heins, like Lewis Hamilton, is expected at the Singapore GP on September 22. Watch this space – and gentlemen (and others), start your engines.

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