RIM to release four BlackBerry 10 smartphones in early 2013

Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins told investors at yesterday's annual shareholder meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, that the company will launch four BlackBerry 10 smartphones, two high-end models and two mid-range models, early next year. This is the first time RIM has provided specifics about the number of BlackBerry 10 devices it will launch.

That tidbit of news was perhaps the only good news to come out of the meeting in which many investors voiced their displeasure with the company's board of directors. Chairwoman Barbara Stymiest promised Investors that the company will make changes to its board of directors and said it has hired an outside search firm to help with the process. According to multiple reports, investors at the meeting said they blame the board for the company's rapid decline in both revenues and market share.    

Investors approved RIM's full slate of directors but they withheld support for several long-time board members including director John Richardson. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 30 percent of shareholders withheld support for Richardson.  In addition, shareholders withheld 19 percent of votes for the re-election of Mike Lazaridis, the company's former co-chairman. Lararidis resigned as co-chairman earlier this year but remained on RIM's board.

In the past year, RIM has appointed three new board members and promoted Thorsten Heins to CEO. It has also hired a new chief marketing officer and a chief operating officer. 

During the annual meeting, Heins and Stymiest tried to put a positive spin on several of the company's latest developments, including the announcement last week that RIM's highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 smartphones would be delayed until 2013, rather than released at year-end. Heins said that many wireless operators are pleased with the delay because they will not be unveiling their higher-speed networks until next year and would not be able to fully exploit the BlackBerry 10 advancements.

He also said that the company now expects to post another operating loss in the current quarter, following a large loss reported at the end of first quarter, which ended in June.

For more:
- see this WSJ report (sub. req.)
- see this New York Times report

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