RIM's upcoming smartphone launches are going to play a huge role in how the company competes in the market moving forward. As a former leader in the smartphone market, RIM has an uphill battle to fight if it wants to be one of the top smartphone manufacturers once again. With Android and iOS currently enjoying great success, it's easy to wonder if there's any room left for the BlackBerry platform.
RIM plans to unveil its BlackBerry 10 platform in its finished state on January 30 of next year. RIM's CEO Thorsten Heins has stated the first BlackBerry 10 device will launch in the first quarter. Kristian Tear, COO, has stated new BlackBerry devices will be made available not long after the platform is unveiled next month. Exact timing hasn't been discussed.
Detwiler Fenton, a Boston-based brokerage firm, believes RIM will launch its first BlackBerry 10 device in March and another in June. The firm expects AT&T and T-Mobile to launch the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone in March. Verizon Wireless and Sprint are expected to have May launches. A second BlackBerry 10 smartphone which features a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard may not be available until June.
“Therefore, it is possible RIMM’s February quarter may only see a very small number of BB10 sales with the May quarter also coming in light due to limited QWERTY keyboard shipments and limited shipments to Sprint and Verizon,” Detwiler writers. “It’s our opinion RIM will ship approximately 400,000 BB10 units in the February quarter and 2.2 million to 2.5 million units in the May quarter. While this is clearly a North American / developed market view, we think this is the right way to look at the 2013 first half because the initial BB10 handsets are higher end and not targeted for emerging markets.”
RIM hasn't given any additional details, except to confirm that it will announce commercial availability for BlackBerry 10 devices at the launch event on January 30.