RIM confirms new phones, BlackBerry 10 OS is essentially complete

Good news for fans of Research In Motion: the embattled BlackBerry maker may soon see some much-needed light at the end of a long tunnel as the company has confirmed putting finishing touches on the way overdue BlackBerry 10 operating system. RIM also has some new phones and they’re all done, too.

Yesterday, RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins agitated spirits with news that his company is actively seeking partners to license BlackBerry 10 software, which was unveiled three months ago. It would mark a significant departure for RIM as the company never allowed a third-party to make BlackBerry-certified handsets.

Today, Heins reveals a couple more tidbits on the state of the BlackBerry platform…

Arik Hesseldahl of AllthingsD interviewed RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins on the current state of affairs. RIM, Heins claims, is readying a “one-two punch” for the BlackBerry for early 2013.

Heins said the BlackBerry 10 software is currently going through its final phase of “polishing” but is essentially complete. The company has taken a lot of criticism for postponing the launch of devices running the new OS several times. 

Not sure if Heins deserves benefit of the doubt given numerous BlackBerry 10 delays in the past. As for the new devices, RIM is keen on exploring dual strategy, with two types of new phones:

One with an all-touch interface nearly identical to a prototype shown at a RIM developers conference in Orlando in May; the other at first glance looks more like a traditional BlackBerry sporting the iconic Qwerty keyboard.

The way I read this, RIM isn’t ready yet to break with the past and start anew. It’s probably a logical move to give its 80 million fans what they want (a traditional BlackBerry phone with that famous clickety-clack keyboard) while luring first-time RIM buyers with all-touchscreen devices.

Within those two types there will be three product segments, essentially high-end, mid-tier and lower-tier devices aimed at different market segments and price points. Heins didn’t talk about target prices.

Again, this strikes me as way more reasonable strategy, especially compared to RIM’s previous co-CEOs who wouldn’t budge and instead stubbornly insisted that the world stood still while they sold their obsolete devices to enterprise.

New devices will take advantage of RIM’s acquisition of startup Paratek, which specializes in a technology that allows phones to transmit and receive on multiple frequency bands using just one antenna.

RIM’s new phones will utilize this tech for improved call and data quality. In addition, it will let RIM manufacture fewer variations of devices to cater for different markets.

And what about folks who dumped their BlackBerry phones in favor of Android?

First we’ll serve the loyal BlackBerry customer base. Second, we’ve heard of some BlackBerry users going to Android and being dissatisfied. We’ll try to win them back, one by one if we have to.

I guess this right here puts to rest whispers of Samsung buying RIM.

I don’t want to see RIM disappear.

The company kicked off the smartphone revolution, it invented mobile messaging and email and for (too) long was synonymous for smartphones, until the iPhone came along in 2007.


Losing RIM would be a tragedy for all cell phone users, regardless of the camp they belong to.

Worse, it would be a tragedy for competition and the entire mobile landscape.

Thousands of very talented people have already been booted from RIM and many more thousands will be let go as RIM’s new management cuts costs aggressively, attempting to save the company from oblivion.

Boy Genius Report‘s Zach Epstein wrote an excellent analysis of RIM’s fate (“the giant with no legs”) and all the wrong moves the company made in years past.

Do you want RIM to survive?