BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) today announced that its newest smartphones and operating system — BlackBerry 10 — would launch worldwide on January 30. The Canadian-based company said it will introduce two new smartphones that use the BlackBerry 10 OS, but will not reveal details of the phones or their availability until the launch date.
RIM and its BlackBerry platform fell out of favor so rapidly with the introduction of the first iPhone from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and then the introduction of the Android operating system from Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) that there is reasonable doubt that the company can every make itself relevant again. In the latest report on smartphone operating systems, Android claims 52.5% of the market, Apple claims 34.3%, and RIM just 8.4%. Those are the top three.
If RIM wants to win share back, its hardware and software are really going to have to be something special. The company’s press release refers to a new user experience and a central location for messages and other data, a new, smarter keyboard, and a firewall between business and personal apps and information.
That’s all very good, but will it be enough? One indicator might be how well the new phones from the Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT)-Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) duo are accepted. Microsoft’s market share of smartphone platforms was just 3.6% last month. How much that grows — or does not grow — should give us some idea how successful RIM’s new devices and platform will be.
RIM’s shares are trading up about 3% this morning at $8.79, in a 52-week range of $6.22 to $19.95.