BlackBerry has had a pretty turbulent time of late, but the troubled brand is hoping the new BlackBerry 10 will mark a turnaround in its fortunes.
Parent company Research In Motion has revealed the new handset, and the platform to power it, will be launched at simultaneous events around the world on January 30.
The event has been delayed twice to make sure RIM gets it absolutely right because there are such high hopes pinned on the new devices.
BlackBerry has had a pretty rocky 2012. First Yahoo’s new boss, Marissa Mayer revealed the search engine was stopping its use of BlackBerries as its corporate phones. And, in September, users were hit by service disruptions. The same month, reports emerged that RIM’s market share had collapsed after three months of losses. In short, BlackBerry is widely believed to have lost its edge.
But the firm is certain it has what it takes to win back hearts, minds and market share with the new line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, RIM’s troubles, the new devices have been much-anticipated, with BlackBerry now promising that fans won’t be disappointed.
The first devices are expected to have touchscreens, taking on board an appearance more akin to bestselling Apple or Samsung smartphones, while gizmos with BlackBerry’s now-iconic mini keyboards, which have traditionally been what set the firm apart from its competitors, are expected to come later.
Not only are the new smartphones expected to have a revamp on the outside, they are also expected to be faster, smoother and come with a well-stocked app store.
While BlackBerry has struggled to keep up with the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Android-based devices, RIM announced it would be concentrating on its strength, the business market.
Now, RIM has said its new devices and platform have got security clearance from the US Government, meaning agencies from the US and Canadian governments can choose to equip their staff with the phones if they wish.
News of the launch event has so far been met with a muted response. Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche, said: “While it is clearly an uphill battle for RIM, given the recent launch of the iPhone 5 device and the aggressive marketing dollars being pushed toward Windows 8, we view it as a modest positive that a date is now officially set for the launch of the new BB10 devices.”
But Thorsten Heins, RIM president and CEO, said he was confident users would be impressed after “tireless” work from his team to bring the new devices to market.
He said customers would get “innovative features combined with a best-in-class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multi-media capabilities.”
“All of this,” he said, “will be integrated into a user experience – the BlackBerry Flow – that is unlike any smartphone on the market today.”
While Heins said he was “looking forward” to getting the BlackBerry 10 in the hands of customers around the world, no release date has yet been revealed.