With a brand-new, increasingly respected and resourceful manufacturer, smoother than ever software open to the full Play Store, productive QWERTY keyboard and especially top-notch battery life, the BlackBerry KEYone went up for sale stateside yesterday. Aaaand now it’s gone.

Before you accuse TCL of trying to score free publicity and artificially build hype by intentionally limiting initial inventory and underestimating US demand, listen to what Steve Cistulli has to say on Twitter.

The President and General Manager of the Chinese company’s North American branch claims it “has been an extraordinary day for the launch” of the BlackBerry KEYone, and demand has simply been “extremely high”, causing “issues with stock outs.”

While it’s “encouraging to see this level of excitement and momentum”, Cistulli promises “we’re working closely with our retail partners, ensuring additional stock is available ASAP so they can fulfill customer orders.”

Okay, maybe that doesn’t prove anything, but it’s a bit of a stretch to think Amazon and Best Buy only had a couple of thousand of these bad boys on hand. Both major e-tailers currently list the phone as sold out (or temporarily out of stock), in both GSM and CDMA unlocked configurations.

Remember, Sprint is on board to carry and sell the KEYone directly… at some point, and up north, in a suggestive change of heart, Telus has reacted to user feedback by announcing availability “for consumer customers in the very near future.”

Previously, Canada’s second largest mobile carrier planned to offer the device exclusively to business customers. Meanwhile, the BlackBerry KEYone can already be purchased by anyone on Rogers, Bell and SaskTel, though regional stock shortages could always enter the equation. Bottom line, TCL has a smash hit on its hands.

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