RIM has announced that it finally will launch its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones world-wide on Jan. 30, one year after the company's next-generation smartphones and operating system were initially set to go on sale.
[Read: How RIM Murdered BlackBerry.]
In a sign of just how far RIM has fallen compared to its rivals, company shares rose more than 4% in early trading, because these days keeping to the latest schedule counts as good news for the Canadian smartphone maker, CNN noted.
CEO Thorsten Heins said BlackBerry 10 will be worth the wait. This time, the company has been making firm headway in the launch of the new phone, which has now been delayed twice. The new platform is now certified for use in government agencies, which is still a stronghold for the Canadian smartphone maker, CNN said. RIM said this marks the first time BlackBerry products have been certified ahead of their launch.
RIM now hopes the new phone will be a strong rival to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android smartphones, which have now taken over most of the smartphone market share that RIM once controlled, while the Canadian firm struggled to keep its devices relevant.
Today, most new mobile software is being made for the iPhone or Android operating systems.
While BlackBerry phones were once ubiquitous in the corporate world, firms have typically replaced them with iPhones or let their employees use their own devices for work. This year RIM had just a 4.3% share of the global smartphone market, according to IDC.
Wall Street firms too, where BlackBerries were once firmly entrenched, have largely ditched the Canadian phone in favor of the iPhone or Android and typically have developed new apps only for the Google and Apple devices.
So what features will BlackBerry 10 have?
RIM said the operating system will run on a smaller number of devices with must-have smartphone features, including a much-improved camera, a modern Web browser and social networking integration. The software will allow users to access e-mail with one swipe from any app, and it will automatically shift between personal and corporate modes. There will reportedly be a touchscreen device as well as one with a physical keyboard - which could particularly sway many corporate users who still dislike typing emails without one.
Here's more good news for former BlackBerry fans: According to the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, RIM's new user experience for BB10, Blackberry Flow, is designed to allow users to move seamlessly between a whole range of apps, heading from an email to calendar to a social network without returning to a home screen.
The Wall Street Journal reports that most analysts who have caught a glimpse of the BB10 operating system give it positive marks.
Still, some doubt that despite the strong buzz, RIM may just be too late to catch up with its rivals.