BlackBerry 10 arrives January 30, according to RIM
Research in Motion said on Monday that it will launch BlackBerry 10, the company's mobile operating system refresh, on January 30, 2013. At launch events in multiple countries, RIM will demonstrate the final version of BB10 and announce availability for the first two handsets designed for BB10.
It's not clear whether RIM will reveal pricing on January 30, or if RIM's carrier partners will make those announcements separately. In October, RIM said BB10 was undergoing lab testing with more than 50 wireless carriers worldwide.
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RIM's BB10 January kick-off will come nearly seven months after RIM delayed the launch of its new OS from late 2012 to early 2013. The company said developing the new software platform was proving “more time consuming than anticipated.”
Once the most popular smartphone platform in the U.S., BlackBerry's dominance has been steadily eroded by touch-centric devices such as Apple's iPhone and handsets running Google's Android OS. As of September, RIM claimed 8.4 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to comScore; the figure is a 10.5 percentage point drop from 18.9 percent the previous year. As recently as September 2010, RIM held the top spot among smartphone platforms, beating both Apple's iOS and Google's Android, with 37.3 percent of American smartphone users.
BlackBerry 10 is meant to be RIM's comeback to stop the company's move toward irrelevance and turn BlackBerry into a significant competitor for Android and iOS. RIM offered an early look at BB10 in September, prompting positive yet tepid reaction from critics. Some of BlackBerry 10's interesting features include BlackBerry Hub, a universal inbox for email; SMS support; BlackBerry Messenger; and social networking notifications. The new OS will also feature BlackBerry Flow, RIM's card-based method of swiping to switch between apps, and an adaptive software keyboard that learns and adjusts to your typing style.
One open question for BB10 is the quality of its third-party app store, particularly whether it will have enough popular titles to compete with other smartphone platforms. RIM is providing few details about apps, but the company says it will have a “large catalog of the leading applications from across the globe.”