Research In Motion's (RIM) much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 launch is right around the corner on January 30, and the Canadian company is pulling out all the stops. It's now or never for BlackBerry, and RIM knows it. In an effort to draw attention to the new platform and build momentum before the launch, RIM this week made a few noteworthy announcements.
RIM's VP of Developer Relations, Alec Saunders, on Sunday announced via Twitter that it saw more than 15,000 application submissions in 37 and a half hours, during a developer "portathon," in which software makers were offered a $100 incentive for each qualifying application. Granted, quantity doesn't always equal quality, but I've been assured by other RIM sources that "all of the major apps," will be available for BlackBerry 10. Either way, 15,000 apps is a significant number, so BlackBerry 10 should have a decent selection of software available when it launches later this month.
Yesterday, RIM announced that its NFC Secure Elements Manager (SEM), which helps secure transaction between NFC-enabled devices, has been approved by Visa. RIM's NFC SEM isn't BlackBerry-10 or even BlackBerry-specific, meaning it can be used with any NFC-enabled device, according to the company's Senior Director of NFC Services, Frank Maduri. Visa's approval gives RIM a leg up over some competitors when it comes to mobile payments. NFC and mobile-payments technologies are still in their infancy, and many observers believe it will be years before they become commonplace. But RIM is clearly banking on the technology.
From RIM PR:
"Visa’s approval confirms for carriers that RIM’s backend SEM solution can securely manage credentials for Visa issuing banks and financial institutions for any NFC-capable device."
On the enterprise side of things, RIM yesterday announced that more than 1,600 businesses in North America are participating in its BlackBerry 10 Ready program, which is designed to help organizations make the transition to BlackBerry 10 and RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10. Qualifying businesses can also receive a free BlackBerry 10 device from RIM as part of the program.
From RIM PR:
"We think the [BlackBerry 10 Ready program] registrations are an interesting barometer of broader interest in BlackBerry 10 in the enterprise sector…The list of customers is a very broad range of businesses from every industry. There are Fortune 500 companies, government customers, major retailers, educational institutions, legal firms…the list goes on."
I asked RIM for the names of companies that are participating in the program, but I was told that it cannot share specifics at this time.
RIM's BlackBerry 10 launch is just two weeks away, and the company will no doubt do all it can to drum up excitement around the new platform, so you should expect to hear even more related announcements in the coming days.