RIM has announced the long delayed successor to its current generation of smartphones is due to launch on January 30th, 2013.
The worldwide launch event will see Research in Motion (RIM) launch not just the OS and product ecosystem, but two new handsets. No further specifics were officially revealed, by it is expected that they will be the touch screen only models.
RIM has said in the past that the new platform will also encapsulate QWERTY keyboard models, similar to its current generation devices.
“Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities. All of this will be integrated into a user experience – the BlackBerry Flow – that is unlike any smartphone on the market today,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of RIM.
“Thanks to our strong partnerships with global carriers and a growing ecosystem of developers, we believe our customers will have the best experience possible with BlackBerry 10. We are looking forward to getting BlackBerry 10 in the hands of our customers around the world.”
The current BlackBerry 7 platform was released way back in August 2011 as a placeholder while BB10 was built from scratch. The company has had a troubling time integrating its 2010 purchase of the QNX operating system, which has become BlackBerry 10 and so far only made it into the poorly received Playbook Tablet. However the endless delays have seen RIM fall behind in sales to Google Android rivals such as Samsung, and Apple’s iPhone series. The launch of Windows Phone 8 this month has also piled on the pressure on the company to stay relevant.
As RIMs financial woes have gone on, it has been attached to several rumours of takeovers, from companies as diverse as Microsoft and Samsung, and it has been looking at licensing the BB10 OS to external parties. Several analysts have already written RIM off as a dying company, but none of these apocalyptic scenarios have come to fruition thus far.
This author was ready to dismiss BB10 as vapourware – and perhaps still is. But the steady flow of announcements over the past few months have been encouraging, which may help it retain some kind of niche foothold in the enterprise market. Unfortunately much of its market has moved on to consumerised devices.
App developers were given early dev kit ‘alpha’ devices earlier in the year, which run an early version of the BB10 software. But these are little more dummy hardware devices, and they do not represent the final product. No one has seen any finalised BlackBerry 10 devices in the wild – despite the fact that several carriers worldwide have been testing BB10.
RIM has unveiled a bunch of features, such as BlackBerry Flow, which allows for better smartphone multi-tasking (users can ‘peek’ at apps behind each other – similar to Windows’ Aeroglass) and an interesting text touch screen texting mechanism (simply called BlackBerry Keyboard). BlackBerry Balance divides the device between work and pleasure, keeping personal apps and information separate from work data.