RIM calls early carrier response to BlackBerry 10 'tremendous'

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) executives have been hitting the road to sell carriers on the company's forthcoming BlackBerry 10 platform, and have described the early reactions as strongly positive.

The sales pitch to carriers will be crucial as RIM looks for support heading into the launch of its first BB10 smartphones, expected in the first quarter of 2013. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and other executives have made pilgrimages to carriers in Canada, the United States and Mexico to show off the new platform's software, which is all but complete.

"The response that we got back from the executive team at some of the Canadian carriers was tremendous," Andrew McLeod, managing director of RIM's Canadian operations, said in a media briefing, according to the Toronto Star. "They were visibly positive and visibly enthusiastic."

"It's important to show strength in our home market," MacLeod told reporters at the briefing in Waterloo, Ontario, near RIM's headquarters, according to Bloomberg. "We are working with Canadian operators to develop a true platform launch." MacLeod refused to say whether RIM is talking with U.S. carriers Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T)--the nation's two largest providers--but it is likely that RIM is since their support will be crucial.

RIM is treading water for the remainder of 2012 in the hopes of sparking a comeback next year. Gartner reported this week that RIM's share of the smartphone market in the second quarter slid to 5.2 percent, down from 11.7 percent in the year-ago period. The push also comes as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its partners gear up for the launch of Windows Phone 8 this fall. Apple too is expected to soon release its next iPhone.

Heins has said that RIM will essentially have a "one-two punch" with two classes of BB 10 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 its new BlackBerry Enterprise Server, BES 10, will support the new phones as well as older BlackBerry devices.

For more:
- see this AP article
- see this Toronto Star article
- see this Bloomberg article

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