RIM will finally unveil its next-generation smartphone platform on Jan. 30, but don't expect handsets to be available right away.
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Research In Motion plans to launch the BlackBerry 10 on January 30, 2013. The company said Monday the launch will occur simultaneously in various cities around the world. After a delay of nearly a year, RIM has remained steadfastly committed to launching BlackBerry 10 no later than the first quarter of 2013. Now we have a date to which we can look forward.
What will RIM be showing us? First, it will provide the most in-depth look at the platform yet. RIM has teased bits and pieces of the user interface and certain features, such as BlackBerry Flow and BlackBerry Hub, but it has stopped well short of revealed everything about the new platform.
"In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs," said Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of RIM. "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."
Second, RIM will reveal final versions of two new BlackBerry smartphones. One of the devices will have a large touchscreen and the other will have a smaller touchscreen paired with a physical keyboard. Physical keyboards are RIM's bread-and-butter feature that helped attracted many millions of customers over the years. RIM has gone on the record several times saying that the touchscreen device will be the first one available, and the device with the keyboard will follow shortly thereafter.
RIM said in a statement that pricing and availability details about the devices will be provided at the event. If you think they're going on right away, think again. RIM handed its new smartphones to more than 50 wireless network operators around the world for certification just two weeks ago. The end of January is the most optimistic date by which these devices might be approved.
Instead, RIM should know by January 30 approximately how much longer it will take to wrap up certification, get the devices manufactured, flashed with the latest software, packaged and shipped to its wireless network operator partners.
"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," said Heins. "We are looking forward to getting BlackBerry 10 in the hands of our customers around the world."
Speaking of RIM's developers, the company has been whooping it up around the world with its BlackBerry Jam developer events. In recent weeks, RIM has promised developers not only devices, but cash for going out on a limb and writing apps for its unreleased platform. The strength of the BB10 app store will be a yardstick to compare the platform against competitors, including Apple, Google and Microsoft.
Apple and Google both boast of more than 600,000 apps in their respective app stores, and Microsoft trails in third with 125,000. How many apps RIM will launch with remains to be seen.
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