Research In Motion isn’t out of the woods yet, but at least one obstacle to the success of its new BlackBerry 10 phones is out of the way. This week, all four major U.S. carriers said they would sell RIM’s new handsets this year. Details of product launches aren’t yet available as the actual new devices have not even been announced yet; that happens on Jan. 30 when RIM will share information on its next generation of devices.
Sprint was the last of the big four to admit it would sell BlackBerry 10 devices. An official Sprint statement made to BGR confirmed it on Friday, while AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile all confirmed their plans to Reuters on Wednesday.
The world is certainly bigger than just the U.S. but this development is still a largely positive one for RIM. We’ve seen in the past the good products without the proper marketing and support from carriers have largely failed. Palm’s exclusive deal to sell the Palm Pre only on Sprint initially, is a good example, although there were obviously other issues at play. Look at the original Motorola Droid, on the other hand: Verizon pumped millions into promoting it and the phone kicked off a string of Droid successes for Motorola and the Android market at large.
That’s exactly the kind of success RIM needs with its BlackBerry 10 handsets. The company was ill-prepared for the transition to touchscreen hardware and interfaces that started in 2007 and has generally been losing customers and market share ever since. A feeble attempt to graft touch onto a traditional BlackBerry in 2010 — remember the Torch? — wasn’t the answer.
RIM’s best response is sure to be the completely new BlackBerry 10 system, which is looking good so far. Clearly, it’s good enough for the carriers to show interest, and in the U.S., the carriers are still the kingmakers … unless your name is Apple, that is.