RIM is in a bad place, and the company's last hope lies in BlackBerry 10. It seemed strange then that the company would delay the launch until after the holidays when most consumers are buying new phones. Even then, we were left with an ambiguous early 2013 launch window, but now we know that BB10 will be out before the end of January.
RIM announced this morning that BlackBerry 10 will be available on January 30. The company plans to hold multiple launch events in countries around the world on the date. The launch events will feature not only the new BB10 platform, but the public unveiling of the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones as well.
“In building BlackBerry 10, we set out to create a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs. 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,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of Research In Motion. “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.”
It appears that RIM will be able to hit its launch date as BB10 is already in testing with carriers around the world. It's unknown which carriers will actually be offering BlackBerry phones at launch, but RIM has over 50 carriers lined up so far. RIM's CEO Thorsten Heins also told CNET that early response from carriers has been good.
The handsets have also recently achieved FIPS 140-2 certification which makes BB10 ready for deployment within government agencies. RIM points out that this is the first time a BlackBerry product has been certified before launch. It might be all for naught, however, as government agencies increasingly look to Android and iOS.
It sounds like BB10 will be gearing up for a good launch in January, but not everybody is so confident. Just last week, an analyst with Pacific Crest said that BB10 would be DOA when it launches. Other firms, however, are saying that RIM may be able to pick itself back up.
We won't know anything for sure until early next year though. RIM is obviously going all out with the launch, but will consumers buy into it after a holiday of buying up new devices? Will consumers actually want to wait out deals like a $99 Nokia Lumia 920 or offers of cheap Android devices in favor of a device that may or may not fail? It's a gamble that's too hard to call. RIM's investors must be hoping the company knows what it's doing.