Top U.S. cell phone carriers Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T), and T-Mobile have announced that they will be supporting Research in Motion‘s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry 10 line of products, which will finally be revealed to the public on January 30.
The new line of both touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard devices promises to offer plenty of options for budget-conscious shoppers as RIM, once ahead of the pack in smartphone sales, is hoping for a comeback after falling behind Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung. Basically, Apple has destroyed Research in Motion over the past couple years. Apple shows no signs of letting up, so RIM needs to make huge strides.
“We’re hopeful that it’s going to be a good device,” says Verizon chief exec Lowell McAdam. T-Mobile chief exec John Legere agrees that he is “extremely optimistic” about the new products, while AT&T handset exec Jeff Bradley says, “It’s logical to expect our current [BlackBerry] customers will have the best BlackBerry devices to choose from in the future.”
BlackBerry 10 phones will feature a brand new operating system and interface. While RIM’s customers have traditionally been of the corporate variety, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) technology surged in popularity among teens as well, allowing fellow BlackBerry users to sidestep their phone carriers’ fees for SMS text messaging.
To doubters, RIM marketing chief Frank Boulben emphasizes, “We are not developing a ‘me-too’ product or a copycat of what already exists.” Rather, execs hope that BlackBerry 10 will serve a very specific subset of smartphone users who need to multitask even more efficiently. The company plans to have at least 70,000 apps ready and waiting when the new line launches, as well as new features like BlackBerry Hub, which hopes to streamline email, instant messaging, and social networking.
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