RIM's BlackBerry 10 in operator lab tests, Q1 2013 launch on track
Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) disclosed that carrier partners across the globe are now testing its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system overhaul, adding that devices remain on track for commercial release early next year.
"In the last week, BlackBerry 10 achieved lab entry with more than 50 carriers--a key step in our preparedness for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013," RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said in an emailed statement.
Independent technology consultant Chris Umiastowski told Bloomberg that carrier testing cycles typically span between 60 and 90 days, adding RIM "should have no trouble making its first-quarter deadline." RIM Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben said in March that the exact timing of BlackBerry 10 devices is dependent on operators and how long their trials run; even if testing runs the full 90 days, RIM could release BlackBerry 10 as soon as late January. Jefferies & Co. Analyst Peter Misek said in October that BlackBerry 10 devices may not reach retail until March, a prediction that pushed RIM shares down 5 percent.
RIM first unveiled BlackBerry 10 in spring 2012--devices running the new OS were expected in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, but in late June, RIM delayed its launch until early 2013. Speaking on an investor call, Heins said RIM is working to integrate new features into BlackBerry 10, contending the delay is a byproduct of the time and energy required to deliver a solid product to market and is not a reflection of the platform's quality. "I will not deliver a product to the market that is not ready to meet the needs of our customers or provide anything less than an outstanding user experience with the quality I expect a BlackBerry product to have," Heins said.
BlackBerry 10 will run on the same QNX-based software powering RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Developer tools include the BlackBerry 10 Native SDK with Cascades, which supports the creation of native applications in C/C++ using the Qt cross-platform framework, as well as the BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK, giving developers the tools to create native-quality apps via common Web programming technologies like HTML5 and CSS.
RIM is betting on BlackBerry 10 to reignite developer passion for its platform. According to a recent survey conducted by Appcelerator and research firm IDC, just 9 percent of respondents said they are very interested in writing BlackBerry apps, an all-time low. Forty percent of developers expressed strong interest in BlackBerry as recently as the first quarter of 2011, underlining the operating system's fall from grace. In comparison, 85 percent of respondents are very interested in building apps for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, and 83 percent express comparable enthusiasm for creating apps optimized for the iPad tablet.
- read this Bloomberg article
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