RIM CEO Talks Up BlackBerry 10

Just in case you hadn’t noted it in your diary, this week it’s the BlackBerry 10 Jam conference in California, where RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has been talking up the virtues of the forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, which he is convinced will be the company’s salvation.

He confirmed that BlackBerry users had increased to 80 million from 78 million last quarter, and said that with BlackBerry 10, RIM had a “clear shot at being the number three platform in the market”. He added that networks are looking for alternatives to Android and iOS, and hinted that BlackBerry was the perfect choice.

The new OS was hailed as RIM’s “most important launch ever,” and that so far, partners and developers have been very positive, with 6,000 prototype devices already in circulation. But RIM acknowledges it’s going to be hard to regain support in Europe and the US, and is focussing on emerging markets such as India and Africa, where BlackBerry is still a popular option.

So what about BlackBerry 10? The OS was again demonstrated on stage at the event, introducing fast switching between running apps – which RIM calls Peek – and news that Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Foursquare will all have native apps ready for launch. Developers will be able to start submitting BlackBerry 10 apps from October 10.

But when are the phones arriving? It’s here that Heins wouldn’t or couldn’t offer any further details. The release is still set for the first quarter of next year, and the phones will go on sale in Europe, America, Australia, Asia and Africa, but anything regarding price, network or anything more about handsets themselves remains a closely kept secret. RIM’s chief marketing officer laid the groundwork for further delays too, blaming networks for a six to 20 week testing period necessary for the OS.

The message from RIM is to settle down and wait for BB10, but that it’s going to be great when it does arrive. RIM’s so convinced that customers and developers are going to love BlackBerry 10 that it has made this music video, based around REO Speedwagon’s Keep on Lovin’ You. It really is something else.

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