Research in Motion, aka RIM, the company behind the beleaguered BlackBerry, has officially announced that it will bring its latest BlackBerry to the world on January 30. Official press invites have gone out for the unveiling, and there are plenty of rumors and leaks about what we will and won’t see in the new revamped BlackBerry.
In case you haven’t been keeping up, BlackBerry 10, or BB 10, is RIM’s completely revamped proprietary operating system designed specifically for BlackBerry. As part of the release, RIM will also introduce complementary smartphones designed to run the new OS.
BlackBerry faces a familiar problem: it needs apps. One of the iPhone’s biggest selling points is both the variety and volume of apps available for download. Android, while initially lagging, has caught up with a very respectable selection. The less popular operating systems, like the Windows and BlackBerry, have fewer apps because they have a smaller customer base, and a smaller customer base because they don’t have a huge app selection. It’s a vicious cycle that can directly impact the success or failure of RIM’s risky new launch.
Not content to wait for developers to decide the user base of BB10 was worth developing for, RIM has decided to go ahead and pay them to create apps ahead of the launch. They’re already held two “port-a-thons” where they paid established iOS and Android developers $100 a piece to “port over” pre-existing apps so they’d run on BlackBerry 10, plus other prizes for developing apps quickly. They’re claiming that as a result of these efforts there will be 15,000 apps once consumers can begin using BB 10 devices.
So when will consumers be able to get their hands on BB 10 devices? Probably February or March, but right now all we know is just rumor. We’ll have to wait till January 30th to find out. What do you think — would you consider a new BlackBerry device?