Research In Motion Ltd. has set a date for the launch party of its make-or-break BlackBerry 10 platform.
After numerous delays and disastrous financial results resulting from weak sales of current BlackBerry models, RIM said it will hold the BlackBerry 10 launch event on Jan. 30 in various countries around the world. On that day, RIM will unveil the first two phones – likely a full touchscreen device, as well as a touchscreen device that also has a physical keyboard – and announce their commercial availability. That could be a couple of weeks later, according to one source familiar with the plan.
The company is hoping a fresh lineup of BlackBerrys running sleeker and more functional software will stop consumers and corporations switching from BlackBerrys to iPhones and Android devices – as well as keep momentum going in emerging markets where BlackBerrys are the still dominant smartphone.
The recent announcement that RIM put the devices into lab testing with wireless operators around the world gave the stock a boost as people began to realize that these phones were very likely on their way. (Most gains were erased last week when an analyst said BB10 was likely to arrive D.O.A., or dead on arrival.)
The launch next year means RIM will miss the holiday shopping window when many devices are bought. But Thorsten Heins, RIM’s chief executive officer, has said the delay is worth it because he wasn’t yet satisfied with the devices, which need to be good enough to compete in a fast-changing smartphone industry dominated by Apple Inc. and giants such as Samsung Electronics, which run Google Inc.’s Android platform. RIM’s application developer outreach team, which works with software developers, has also been criss-crossing the globe trying to build momentum for the platform and get people to build more apps for it.
“In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs,” Mr. Heins said in a news release. “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.”
In a release, RIM pointed to some of the devices’ new features, such as the touchscreen device’s digital keyboard, which “learns how you write and adapts to how you type so you can write faster and more accurately,” as well as a “BlackBerry Hub” of appointments and messages that can be quickly looked at, no matter what applications the device is running.