* RIM confident BB 10 devices will be 100 pct ready at
* Devices will go on sale "not too long after" Jan 30 launch
* Carrier testing of BB10 devices still expanding
* RIM shares close down nearly 5 pct
By Euan Rocha
WATERLOO, Ontario, Nov 13 Research In Motion
is confident its new BlackBerry 10 devices
will be 100 percent ready for the Jan. 30 launch and available
in stores "not too long after" that, Chief Operating Officer
Kristian Tear said on Tuesday.
"We're working hard right now to make sure all the bits and
pieces and all the details are in place for the date, when the
devices will be available for consumers and enterprises," Tear
told Reuters in an interview.
RIM, which virtually invented the concept of mobile email
with its first line of BlackBerry devices more than a decade
ago, was roundly criticized for the botched 2011 launch of its
PlayBook tablet computer, which RIM had hoped would compete with
Apple's blockbuster iPad.
The PlayBook looked pretty and had top-of-the-line hardware.
But its software was far from complete at the launch and needed
The device also lacked the library of apps available on the
iPad and on devices that run on Google Inc's competing
Android operating system.
RIM says its the new devices will be faster and smoother
than its existing phones and have a large catalog of
applications that are crucial to the success of any smartphone.
The company hopes the new devices will allow it to claw back
some of the market share it has lost to Android and Apple
Tear said RIM has used input from current BlackBerry users
to influence the design of the new devices, The new phones both
build on the strengths of RIM's existing operating system and
improve on its weak points, he said.
RIM last month began carrier testing on the new devices,
with an initial rollout to more than 50 carriers. Tear, who
joined RIM a few months ago from Sony Mobile Communications,
said RIM was expanding that to a wider group of carriers across
"We submitted to 50 carriers to begin with, and obviously
that number is increasing as we move forward," he said. "Our
ambition is to make this a global launch, everything will not
happen at the same time, but it will be a global launch."
RIM has said it initially plans to roll out a high-end
touchscreen version of the device. Phones with the mini QWERTY
keyboards that many long-time BlackBerry users adore will come a
few weeks later, while lower-end versions of both devices will
be launched later in the year.
The company has yet to say exactly when the devices will be
available in stores worldwide or how much they will cost.
"We have to agree with carriers as well on what they want to
announce when, so it's not absolutely to our own discretion,"
RIM, whose share price has fallen more than 90 percent from
a 2008 peak around $148, is part way through a major
restructuring, as it seeks to trim costs in the run-up to the
launch of the new devices.
The company, which has also said it is examining its
strategic options, is lowering operating costs by about $1
billion and cutting about 5,000 jobs, or about 30 percent of its
workforce, by the time its fiscal year ends in early March.
"We are on track to deliver on that," said Tear. "It is an
ongoing process, when it comes to efficiencies and costs."
RIM's Chief Legal Officer Steve Zipperstein said the company
is pushing ahead with its strategic review.
"The process is ongoing and it continues to be a focus on
RIM's senior management, but we have nothing to report at this
moment," said Zipperstein.
RIM shares, which have risen slightly over the last couple
of months in the run-up to the launch of BB10 devices, closed
4.7 percent lower at $8.40 on Nasdaq. RIM's Toronto-listed
shares fell by a similar margin to C$8.40.