New BlackBerry scalped online

Though yet to be launched in North America, BlackBerry's new smartphones were already for sale online Friday, stirring bidding frenzies.

Sellers claimed they obtained the sleek new handsets at launch events in New York, Toronto, Dubai, London and Johannesburg. Journalists and analysts who attended the events were given a BlackBerry Z10, which retails for $599.

On online auction website eBay bids soared to $3,000 for two "very rare" white Z10 devices, according to the British seller. Another from New York was listed at $1,775. Most of them however went for about $1,100.

The Z10 devices began selling in Britain on Thursday and will launch in Canada on February 5, but won't be available until mid-March in the key US market.

Chief executive Thorsten Heins said the reason for the delay in the US is "a rather lengthy" testing process but noted some carriers are taking pre-orders. Verizon is marketing the phone in the US for $199 with a two-year plan.

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