The world awaits January 30, 2013 – the day when Research in Motion is set to unveil two new BlackBerry 10 devices. We’ve come to expect manufacturers to release new devices at least once a year to keep their user base happy, but RIM’s product launch is long overdue, leaving many doubtful that RIM will be able to get back in the game.
Though the odds may not be in favor of RIM, that doesn’t seem to matter for the Canadian company, as they’ve never slowed their efforts to revamp their hardware and software for the smartphone and BYOD era. Gaining support for their extended ecosystem, complete with supporting developers and quality apps, will be an integral part of RIM’s success.
RIM recently held two Port-a-Thon events to entice developers to submit apps for their platform. The phone maker offered $100 to developers with approved apps, and for those with two to five approved apps, they received a BlackBerry PlayBook. If they have more than five approved apps, the names of those developers were entered into a raffle to win a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device.
Another important component to RIM’s comeback is the cooperation of phone sellers. Nearly all the major US carriers have announced support for RIM’s upcoming handsets, as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all stated that they would be carrying the new devices when they become available in February or March.
The final sector for RIM to win over is the enterprise, where most of its devices will have the highest appeal. RIM has reported that more than 1,600 North American businesses have registered for a training program for the new handsets and software. Out of the bunch, more than 1,000 of them are already using the BB10 Ready program since it was introduced last December.
The companies who have registered for the program include Fortune 500 companies, law firms, schools, universities, retailers and government agencies.
BB10 Devices: what to expect
Not much is known about the upcoming BB10 devices, except that one will be a full touchscreen device and the other will still feature their trademark QWERTY keyboard. At BlackBerry World 2012, the company showed off the new BB10 interface that lets you move back and forth between apps without closing them out, and has a new camera feature that lets you dial back to a perfect moment – like the shot where everyone has their eyes open in a group photo.
Though some government branches are swapping out BlackBerries to equip their employees with Android and iOS device for work use, RIM’s devices may still be the preferred devices for government use as the BB10 platform has acquired FIPS 140-2 certification, which means U.S. and Canadian government branches, as well as private companies, can deploy the BlackBerry 10 devices upon launch without having to worry about the device’s security.
Also, RIM has another important certification, as Visa approved their Near Field Communication technology and Secure Element Manager, responsible for its mobile payments program. Many are still skeptic about mobile payments and NFC technology because of security issues, but the fact that Visa, a major payments company, has approved RIM’s offering, it could lure more businesses and consumers.
To that end, RIM, EnStream (joint venture between Rogers, Bell and TELUS) and CIBC recently partnered up to launch their “suretap” program which allows for consumers to pay using their mobile device.
It seems RIM is ready to launch their new devices at the end of this month. Let’s just hope that after the launch, the devices will be immediately available. There’s nothing worse than seeing a new device after two years of anticipation, then having to wait another eight weeks to buy it.