RIM pins hopes on BlackBerry 10 launch

BlackBerry

BlackBerry maker RIM will launch its new platform on January 30, a move that analysts feel is crucial for the company that has seen market share declining steadily in the smartphone category.

The Canada-based company will unveil its 'BlackBerry 10' operating system and handsets powered by the new platform as it tries to protect ground in a market now led by Apple's iPhone and phones based on Google's Android operating system.

"BlackBerry 10 launch is definitely an important one for the company. They have created a lot of buzz around the platform with their marketing activities, done a lot of customer shows and revamped their application store.

"We'll have to wait and watch how the market responds to it," IDC Principal Analysts Sanchit Vir Gogia told PTI.

The launch is also important for Thorsten Heins, who took over as RIM's CEO in 2012 just under a year ago.

RIM's stocks have taken a beating, declining close to 72 per cent from over USD 61 apiece in January 2010 to USD 17.54 on January 25, 2012. It had fallen to as low as USD 6.30 in September 2012.

In July-September period of 2012, Android had a market share of 72.4 per cent compared to 52.5 per cent in the year-ago period, according to research firm Gartner.

Apple's iOS market share came down to 13.9 per cent from 15 per cent in July-September 2011, while RIM's share came down from 11 per cent to 5.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2012.

The company, on its part, is geared up for the launch. Its website's homepage depicts a sleek black device alongside the caption: "The Blackberry Experience. Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented."

BlackBerry 10 devices will feature touchscreen as well as ones with keyboards.

RIM is betting big on touchscreen with its new User Interface (UI) and other features like BlackBerry Balance, industry experts said.

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