RIM starts telecom operator testing of new BlackBerry 10 devices, aiming for Q1 2013 launch

Telecom Lead America: BlackBerry smartphone maker Research In Motion (RIM) has started carrier testing of its new BlackBerry 10 devices.

In the last week, BlackBerry 10 smartphones achieved lab entry with more than 50 telecom operators. This is considered as a key step in its preparedness for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013.

The struggling RIM is trying to reinvent itself through the new smartphones that will run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system. It says the new devices offer a faster and smoother user interface and a better platform for the apps that are critical to a smartphone’s success.

RIM, attempting to lure developers onto its platform, last month showed off the new devices to a large gathering of app creators in San Jose, California.

While the devices have so far been well received by the developer community, analysts say the test will be the reception from consumers in an ultra-competitive market dominated by the iPhone and devices that run on Google’s Android software, Reuters reported.

Testing with carriers typically runs two to three months and lets telecom players test the compatibility of the new devices with their networks.

“This process will continue in the coming months as more carriers around the world formally evaluate the devices and our brand new software,” said RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins.

“Our developer teams are continuing to generate momentum to bring a wealth of applications to BlackBerry 10, our enterprise teams have started to present BlackBerry 10 devices and services to our business customers, and our engineers are fully mobilized to ensure that BlackBerry 10 launches flawlessly in the first quarter of 2013.”

RIM Chief Executive Thorsten Heins

This week, TelecomLead.com reported that Nokia is not in top 5 smartphone vendor list. Samsung, Apple, RIM, ZTE and HTC are the top 5 smartphone makers in Q3 2012.

According to IDC, RIM relied on its older product portfolio and models to achieve its status as a top 5 smartphone seller. RIM’s installed base, which topped 80 million active users during the quarter, provides further evidence of the company’s widespread presence globally.

Meanwhile, ZTE expects a 40 percent increase in its smartphone sales in 2013, to 50 million units.

However, last week ZTE told analysts after it reported weak third-quarter earnings that it expects to sell 25 million smartphones in 2012, 10 million fewer than it initially forecasted. ZTE sold around 15 million smartphones in 2011.

Samsung is more confident in selling smartphones in the last three months of 2012. Encouraged by Q3 2012 financial performance, Samsung is more confident to sell smartphones and tablets in the next quarter than Apple.

The October-November-December quarter is fourth quarter for Samsung and first quarter for Apple. But both of them depend on this holiday season. The success will depend on new products for both Apple and Samsung. The recent patent issue may affect Samsung’s sales in the U.S.

Amazon, Google and Microsoft will pose challenges with their new products to the top two players in the smartphone market. In the fourth quarter, the smartphone market is expected to continue its growth momentum with increased demand, especially in emerging markets.

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