Though not officially slated to debut until Q1 2013, RIM’s BlackBerry 10 and corresponding launch devices may be closer to completion than previously thought. The company’s CEO Thorsten Heins has begun carrying a BlackBerry 10 prototype for daily use, and according to The Wall Street Journal, RIM is set to take two “nearly complete” prototype devices to carriers in an attempt to persuade them to carry one or both devices at launch. As expected, the devices include one with a fully touch interface, and one with the customary hardware keyboard we’re used to seeing on BlackBerry devices. From there, the company has plans to release 4 additional devices, split evenly between touch-only and physical QWERTY keyboard models.
One unnamed WSJ source suggested that RIM’s BlackBerry 10 devices show a marked improvement over current smartphones, which if true could be just what RIM needs to reverse its fall from grace in the smartphone market. The company has had several consecutive quarters of poor financial performance, laid off several thousand employees, and is reportedly exploring licensing BlackBerry 10 to competing OEMs.
We should learn soon whether RIM’s trip to the carriers was fruitful, or whether it failed and must now take a bite of the poisoned apple.