by Al Sacco

RIM to Launch First BlackBerry 10 Smartphone on January 21, 2013?

Sep 25, 20122 mins
MobileSmall and Medium BusinessSmartphones

RIM could launch its first BlackBerry 10 all-touch smartphone on January 21, 2013, based on some remarks made today and in the past by RIM's developer chief and CEO.

UPDATE 2: I asked Thorsten Heins, RIM’s CEO, in a press session today if he could say for sure that January 21, 2013, is not the company’s target release date, and he would not comment. If January 21 was definitely not the launch date, I’m not sure why the CEO wouldn’t just say so. 

UPDATE: I just go the following statement from RIM: “The January 21st date that Alec Saunders spoke about was in reference to the deadline for having an approved, qualified app submitted to BlackBerry App World in order to be eligible for the 10K program.” Note that RIM did not say January 21 is not the current target launch date. Take that as you will.

RIM is currently holding its annual BlackBerry developer conference, now called BlackBerry Jam Americas, in San Jose, Calif., and the company is really hyping its upcoming BlackBerry 10 OS.

RIM has said in the past that it will launch its first BlackBerry 10 device during the first quarter of 2013. When I spoke to RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins in July, he mentioned that the first BlackBerry 10 device will launch in January, though I’m not sure he meant to drop that detail. Today, Heins said BlackBerry 10 is on track for its planned launch.

RIM’s VP of Developer Relations Alec Saunders today announced a new promotion for developers that guarantees them $10,000 if they submit BlackBerry 10 apps to BlackBerry App World and they don’t make $10,000 on their own, with a few conditions they must meet. One of those conditions: Developers must submit their apps before January 21, 2013.

Saunders also accidentally referred to the January 21, 2013 date as “launch,” though he quickly corrected himself.

All of these things suggest that RIM is planning to launch its first BlackBerry 10 device on January 21, though the company did not specify a launch data at the BlackBerry Jam conference, perhaps because it doesn’t want to set a specific date and then delay the launch again if the devices and/or software isn’t ready.

Still, that date sounds right to me, so the first BlackBerry 10, all-touch device could very well be released on January 21.