The good news is finally starting to roll for RIM, with the company's stock up over 30% on its recent lows and practical benefits being accrued like secure government-use approval for BB10. But that's nothing without the phones and word is now out that RIM will show off the new devices in their finished form, along with the final version of the BB10 OS at BlackBerry Jam 2013.
These phones represent the critical point in the company's turnaround. If business and consumer buyers see what they like, and are willing to upgrade from existing BB models or give up their iOS or Android devices, then the comeback is on. Anything less and RIM will be consigned to a minor player in the smartphone race, relying on enterprise contracts to keep it in the game.
Carriers and Countries
The company's launch strategy is undecided, with RIM in discussions with carriers over models and contracts. But it seems likely that the new devices will go on-sale in smaller markets first to generate some momentum before hitting the U.S. A launch will have to happen soon though, as RIM won't want to run into an Apple 5S launch or other out-of-phase rival update.
The BlackBerry Jam event is scheduled for 30 January, taking place at the same time in multiple countries to widen the impact. At this year's event early hardware was given out to developers, but everyone will be eager to try out the final product and see if it can compete with the consumer-focused rivals.
BB10 offers features including a new smart virtual keyboard, separate profiles for work and personal information, and Flow and Hub features for hassle-free navigation and instant access to essential information. In a world of ever-decreasing returns from iOS and Android, these might be enough to tempt users into checking it out.