They may be missing out on the holiday sales frenzy, but not by as far as we thought they might. Research in Motion has announced that their new operating system will launch on January 30, much sooner than the March launch analysts were expecting. It’s the first major overhaul to the BlackBerry operating system in quite some time, and it might be RIM’s last shot at saving their ailing company.
BlackBerry is preparing two new hardware models to launch alongside the new operating system; one model will be a full touch-screen device that resembles most modern smartphones, and the other will be a more traditional BlackBerry style phone, with a physical QWERTY keyboard. At this point, it’s unknown whether BB10 will be available only on these two phones for now, or if they’re going to bring the OS update to their older hardware. We suspect the former, given how significant of an overhaul the OS is getting.
BB10 may well be RIM’s last major product launch, if things don’t go well. The Canadian company has been in dire financial straits recently, losing huge amounts of market share to iOS and Android. Even their business and government customers have begun to stray away from BlackBerry, as other platforms have caught up to RIM’s much-lauded security. If BB10 doesn’t bring a whole lot of those customers back, the future of RIM might be up in the air.
Despite this grim outlook, RIM’s bosses remain optimistic that BB10 can save their company. In a statement given today, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said, “Thanks to our strong partnerships with global carriers and a growing ecosystem of developers, we believe our customers will have the best experience possible with BlackBerry 10. We are looking forward to getting BlackBerry 10 in the hands of our customers around the world.”