RIM Shows Off BlackBerry 10 Devices (But YOU Can't See Them)

RIM is showing off two BlackBerry 10 devices to the media, in an attempt to steal some attention from Apple and Samsung. But a number of signs suggest the two devices are still mostly half-baked.

UPDATE: CNET's Roger Cheng was apparently able to "fiddle around" with the two devices, so apparently some reporters did get to handle them briefly. Still no images though.

This week, Research In Motion (RIM) unveiled two of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphones...sort of.

RIM is showing off two devices to select media outlets, but it hasn't released any official images of the devices, and it apparently won't let reporters touch or take pictures of them.

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The Verge's Joshua Topolsky saw two of the new devices RIM plans to release in early 2013 while sitting down for a chat with RIM CEO Thorsten Heins. One is a full-touch device that's similar to the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha RIM handset distributed to developers at its BlackBerry World conference in May, and the other is a QWERTY/touch-screen hybrid that supposedly looks a lot like RIM's BlackBerry 99xx devices, without the shiny metal bezel.

From The Verge:

"I saw two of the new phones the company will offer in the first quarter of 2013...One is a long, full-touchscreen device, the other a new variation of the classic, QWERTY-keyboard BlackBerry phones which executives referred to as the 'Nevada.'"

But oddly Topolsky didn't say he got to actually touch or use either of the devices, and he didn't post any images, which tells me that RIM didn't allow him to touch them or take pictures.  Thorsten Heins didn't share any new information, either. I spoke with Heins in early July, and we talked about everything Topolsky covered and more.

Topolsky says Heins showed "a 'nearly finished' version of the operating system...[and] what's been seen of the software previously wasn't too far off from what was demoed in the meeting."

In other words, RIM is suggesting that its first two BlackBerry 10 devices are almost ready for prime time, but it won't let anyone see the devices, except for a handful of reporters. And the software doesn't look very different than what's already been seen.

Hmmmm. Why wouldn't RIM let anyone take pictures? I can only assume it's because the hardware isn't finished. And if the hardware isn't finished and the software still looks like earlier developer versions, it doesn't sound to me like the BlackBerry 10 devices are anywhere close to being released. (Heins says the company will release the first two devices in the first quarter of 2013, which is admittedly at least four months away.)

The whole thing looks to me like a marketing stunt designed to ensure that consumers don't lose interest in the upcoming BlackBerrys, which wouldn't be hard to do at all given Samsung's massive Galaxy S III push, a new iPhone expected in September and the fact that the BlackBerry 10 devices won't actually be available until January at the earliest.

I understand what RIM's doing, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. But it's hard to get excited about something you can't yet touch or even see, and I'm tired of RIM talking and not showing.

AS

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