Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins and other executives expressed confidence in the company's forthcoming launch of BlackBerry 10, and RIM confirmed that it will release its first BB10 devices to consumers sometime in February.
Heins told the New York Times that the company is confident that BB10 will catch on with consumers looking for a new, easier way to manage their smartphone experience. He said the launch will help revive RIM's flagging fortunes. "I don't expect things to get much worse," he said.
Separately, RIM executives dribbled out a few more details about the launch. RIM said earlier this week that it will unveil its first BB10 devices Jan. 30. RIM COO Kristian Tear told Bloomberg that the company will then release them to shoppers within 30 days on multiple continents. "We want to do it as quickly as possible," he said.
Tear told Reuters that while the devices will not launch simultaneously around the world RIM expects it to be a "global launch." RIM has not said when exactly the devices will hit the market or how much they will cost. "We have to agree with carriers as well on what they want to announce when, so it's not absolutely to our own discretion," Tear said.
Heins and other executives have been on a whirlwind tour to drum up excitement and enthusiasm for BB10 ahead of tis launch, demonstrating the key features of the platform and convincing carriers to support it. Some analysts are pessimistic though about the platform's prospects. "We believe BB10 is likely to be DOA," James Faucette, a Pacific Crest Securities analyst, said in a report last week. "We expect the new OS to be met with a lukewarm response at best and ultimately likely to fail."
Heins has said that RIM will launch with a "one-two punch" of BB10 devices: one that is an all-touch experience and one that has RIM's classic Qwerty keyboard. Within those two types, RIM will offer three different devices, a high-end device, a mid-tier device and a low-end device, for six total. RIM also revealed that BES 10 will support the new phones as well as older BlackBerry devices.
Heins also said this week that he expects the new platform to be embraced by government workers. RIM recently noted that the U.S. government had certified the security of BB10. "I want to capture the BYOD (bring your own device)--let me say, a significant part of the BYOD segment--in government and military," Heins told Bloomberg.
Separately, RIM said it is rolling out an overhauled version of its BlackBerry Messenger mobile social networking service with voice chat capabilities. With the new BBM Voice, BlackBerry device users can make free voice calls to other BBM customers across the globe over a Wi-Fi connection. (See separate story here.)
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