RIM to introduce new BlackBerry 10 devices on January 30

Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:53pm EST
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By Euan Rocha

(Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd plans to introduce its new line of BlackBerry 10 smartphones on January 30, the company said on Monday, giving investors a measure of confidence the long-awaited devices are approaching the finish line.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company, a one-time pioneer in the smartphone industry, is betting its future on the new line of products, which will be powered by its new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

RIM has struggled over the last two years as its devices lost ground to snazzier and faster smartphones such as Apple Inc's iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy line.

In a brief statement, RIM said the twice-delayed devices will be launched simultaneously in multiple countries. It will introduce two BlackBerry 10 smartphones, along with the platform that powers them at the event.

"While it is clearly an uphill battle for RIM given the recent launch of the iPhone 5 device and the aggressive marketing dollars being pushed toward Windows 8, we view it as a modest positive that a date is now officially set for the launch of the new BB10 devices," Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a note to clients.

RIM has said it plans initially to roll-out touchscreen devices. Phones with the mini QWERTY keyboards that many long-time BlackBerry users rave about will come a few weeks later, while lower-end versions of both devices will be launched later in the year.

The company did not say when the devices will be available in stores. That will be announced at the event.

Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie believes the BB 10 devices will be available within two to four weeks of the launch event, but some such as Peter Misek of Jefferies expect the devices to go on sale only in March.   Continued...

The exterior of one of the Research In Motion Limited (RIM) buildings is shown in Waterloo July 10, 2012. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese