There have been some doubts whether Research in Motion would even get its BlackBerry 10 platform to market after delays. But the one-time smart phone leader is following through on promises to launch BlackBerry 10 and has now announced a January 30 launch event to unveil the first two devices and more details about the platform.
As we’ve mentioned before, this is desperation time for RIM, which is quickly losing ground to Apple and Google and is in danger of getting passed over by Microsoft’s Windows Phone. RIM needs to field a winner and reverse its sales declines. IDC reported last month that RIM shipped 7.7 million units in the third quarter, down 34.7 percent from the year ago quarter.
RIM unveiled BlackBerry 10 at a developer event in May, prompting my colleague Kevin Tofel to express some guarded optimism. But in June, RIM pushed back the release of BlackBerry 10 until early 2013, setting off a wave of doubt about RIM’s ability to compete. Even with a firm Q1 launch for BlackBerry 10, RIM will have missed out on an important holiday season and will have to try to pick up ground against some hot-selling devices like the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III. RIM said the platform is in testing with more than 50 carrier labs.
Still, RIM remains upbeat that it can compete. Here’s what CEO Thorsten Heins said in a statement:
“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. 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.”