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CES 2013: BlackBerry 10 To Hit Many Price Points

Research In Motion plans to launch six BlackBerry 10 devices this year, ranging in cost from bargain to high end.
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Research In Motion is prepared to come storming back into the smartphone market with as many as six new handsets this year, said the company at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

BlackBerry 10, RIM's next-generation smartphone platform, will debut in New York City on Jan. 30. At that event, RIM will announce the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones. One will have a touch screen, and the other will have a touch screen combined with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Both devices will target the high end of the smartphone market with compelling features such as powerful cameras.

The touch-based device will be available within 30 days of the Jan. 30 announcement, and the QWERTY-equipped device will follow soon thereafter. But these won't be the only two BB10 smartphones released this year.

[ Why you shouldn't buy this bargain Blackberry. ]

CMO Frank Boulben said in an interview with FierceWireless, "We intend over time as we transition the portfolio to have a full range of devices."

The company plans to release six new smartphones by the end of the year. Although Boulben didn't provide a breakdown of features to be offered in these devices, he did say there will be high-end, mid-range and entry-level BlackBerry 10 smartphones for sale by the close of 2013. This is good news. As much as RIM needs hero devices to woo back Android and iPhone users, the mid-range and entry-level phones will help it increase its sales volumes.

Boulben is bullish on RIM's chances at a comeback. He said BlackBerry 10 devices are being tested by 150 wireless network operators around the world. He thinks that a significant portion of RIM's existing 79 million users will make the switch from BB7 or older devices to BB10 fairly quickly.

BlackBerry 10 device owners will have access to more than 70,000 applications when the platform launches, according to Boulben. Rather than aim for sheer volume, RIM has been targeting the top 600 apps in individual markets around the world. RIM believes this strategy will help it gain traction faster, as consumers and enterprise owners alike will be able to find the apps that appeal most to them.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has been trotting around the globe selling BB10 to wireless network operators. With carrier support, RIM believes BB10 has a fighting chance at becoming the third mobile ecosystem.

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