Given what a torrid time Research In Motion has had over the last eighteen months – from service disruptions to product delays – it’s great to be able to report some positive news about the company. In a public statement, RIM’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, provided an upbeat update on development of BlackBerry 10, as the company “passed a critical milestone” in the long journey of the new OS to market.
A few days ago, RIM’s next-generation operating system entered the ‘Lab Entry’ phase of its development, with more than fifty carriers across the globe now testing BB10 handsets. While this is a good start, it’s only the beginning; in the coming months, Heins says that “more carriers around the world [will] formally evaluate the devices and our brand new software”.
He added that the response among carriers who are currently testing the device and OS “has been tremendous” – not the first time that we’ve heard RIM talking up the enthusiasm of operators for BlackBerry 10. Heins added that the company is working hard to generate buzz among developers to build apps for the platform - we've previously heard that RIM will guarantee $10,000 of revenue in the first year for apps that pass its special "quality certification" standards - while business and enterprise customers are already being approached with information on BB10 devices and services.
Leaks in recent weeks have given us a hint of what some of those devices might offer, including the well-specified ‘London’ handset, and the powerhouse quad-core flagship, codename ‘Aristo’. But the promise of great handsets just around the corner hasn’t put an end to continued speculation that RIM will soon cease to be the ‘third ecosystem’ behind Android and iOS, with a report a month ago suggesting that Windows Phone may overtake BlackBerry sooner than some might think, at least in Europe.
But while that speculation is unlikely to end, it’s very encouraging to hear from the company’s CEO that it remains on track to deliver BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013. RIM seems more committed than ever to fighting for its survival and, in the longer term, for its success.