National News

November 13, 2012

RIM to unveil new BlackBerry phones on Jan. 30.

TORONTO — Research In Motion said Monday that it will hold an official launch event for its new BlackBerry 10 smartphones on Jan. 30. The new phones are seen as critical to RIM’s survival.  

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company said Monday details on the much-delayed smartphones and their availability will be announced at the event.

The announcement comes as the company struggles in North America to hold onto customers who are abandoning BlackBerrys for flashier iPhones and Android phones.  

RIM’s current software is still focused on email and messaging, and is less user-friendly, agile and robust than iPhone or Android. Its attempt at touch screens was a flop, and it lacks the apps that power other smartphones. RIM is hanging its hopes on the BlackBerry 10 software. It is thoroughly redesigned for the touchscreen, Internet browsing and apps experience that customers now expect. The Canadian company said the launch event will happen simultaneously in multiple countries.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called it a make-or-break product release and said the date of the launch event suggests a release date in mid- to late February or in March.

A full touchscreen device is expected to be released first followed shortly after by a physical keyboard version.

BGC Financial Partners analyst Colin Gillis said the new phones won’t be dead on arrival as some analysts have said because RIM hasn’t lost the corporate market completely.

“Is 10 going to be the solution to retain that marketplace? We’ll have to wait and see,” Gillis said. “It’s great they set a date, but the challenges are still formidable. It’s not an issue of initial demand. It’s an issue of sustained demand.”

Gillis noted that RIM’s launch of a tablet initially went OK but then demand fell sharply. RIM’s tablet, the Playbook, uses software on which the BlackBerry 10 will be based.  

RIM said last month the new BlackBerrys are being tested by 50 wireless carriers around the world.

Thorsten Heins, who took over as CEO in January after the company lost tens of billions in market value, had vowed to do everything he could to release BlackBerry 10 this year but said in June that the timetable wasn’t realistic. Heins says he can turn things around with BlackBerry 10.

The new BlackBerrys will be released after the holiday shopping season and well after Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5, expected to be Apple’s biggest product introduction yet.  

RIM’s platform transition is also happening under a new management team and as RIM lays off 5,000 employees as part of a bid to save $1 billion.    

RIM was once Canada’s most valuable company with a market value of more than $80 billion in 2008, but the stock has plummeted since, from over $140 per share to around $8. Its decline evokes memories of Nortel, another former Canadian tech giant, which declared bankruptcy in 2009.

Shares of RIM rose 27 cents, or 3.2 percent, to close at $8.81 Monday in New York after rising as high as $9.07 earlier.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

    April 20, 2014

  • Ukraine, Russia trade blame for shootout in east

    Within hours of an Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement blaming militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of supposed proof of their involvement in the attack that left at least three people dead.

    April 20, 2014

  • In West Bank, teen offenders face different fates

    The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other.

    April 20, 2014

  • Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas

    Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration’s conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

    April 20, 2014

  • Fracking foes cringe as unions back drilling boom

    After early complaints that out-of-state firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.

    April 20, 2014

  • In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

    Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 20, 2014

  • ‘Capt. America’ tops box office for third week

    Captain America continues to vanquish box office foes, triumphing in ticket sales for the third consecutive week and dominating over megastar Johnny Depp’s new movie.

    April 20, 2014

  • Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has spent a record 14 years in office vanquishing nearly all who dared confront him: political rivals, moms against mandatory vaccines for sixth graders, a coyote in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    April 20, 2014

  • NASA’s space station Robonaut finally getting legs

    Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs.

    April 19, 2014

  • Documents detail another delayed GM recall

    Government documents show that General Motors waited years to recall nearly 335,000 Saturn Ions for power steering failures despite getting thousands of consumer complaints and warranty repair claims.

    April 19, 2014