RIM Reportedly Showing Near-Final BlackBerry 10 Phones To Carriers

Will RIM hang around long enough to see if BlackBerry 10 can get its legs up under it? Q1 2013 feels like it's forever from now, with an entire holiday season between the present and early next year. Not to mention another iPhone, Windows Phone 8 and a surefire flood of Android 4.1 superphones on every carrier imaginable. But according to a new WSJ report, Research in Motion isn't backing down. Despite losing steam and potential mind share in the past few years, the report states that the carrier will start delivering "nearly complete versions" of BB10 smartphones to operators as early as next week. Why is this important? It's a huge test. Carrier support is absolutely vital for smartphone success in America; if the carrier isn't pushing your phone, it's pushing someone else's phone. And with the iPhone 5 just around the bend, it's going to take a mighty impressive phone to win top billing.

The "beta" units that are being shown are part of a five-week tour that'll hit the major players in distribution. It's hard to say how much more improved the OS will be compared to states that have been shown to the public in recent months. The company is reportedly near the "finish line," but if so, why wait half a year to release it? Is the phone is in a place where RIM feels confident that it will wow carriers, surely it's not far from being ready for public hands, right? Perhaps the Q1 2013 launch is simply to catch the market in a lull; that's usually a period where no major flagship products are announced, as it's not near back-to-school season nor the holiday season.

But even still, will those who just re-upped their contract in the fall of 2012 be eager to even pay attention to RIM's offering in 2013? It all starts with getting that backing from the operators that sell the phones, at least in America.