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Blackberry 10 launch: Now or never moment for RIM
Having taken a beating at the hands of Apple and Samsung; Blackberry maker RIM, in its last ditch effort, is launching a new platform, 'Blackberry 10' - christened as 'THE BLACKBERRY EXPERIENCE - Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented' - today (January 30) in six global cities, including New York.

The launch is seen as a ‘now or never moment’ for the Canada-based company, whose shares have witnessed a plummeted over the last couple of years. Thanks to the recent splurge behind various advertising campaigns, including the costly Super Bowl Ad, a buzz has been created and Blackberry is, at least, in news and people have started talking about it.

But again, that wouldn’t be enough for people to buy the new Blackberry devices – the first one is rumoured to be out in February next month – based on its latest software. The good news for Blackberry, however, is that its stocks have almost tripled over the past few months on hopes the new devices can restore its lost position in the market.

What sets RIM apart in the overcrowded smartphone market, according to various analysts and reviewers, is the browser speed and intuitive keyboard on its new touchscreen. What is touted as a means to rebuild its traditional customer base is a feature ‘Blackberry Balance’ – which separates corporate and personal data.

But RIM has to take due care of the App store – now rechristened as Blackberry World – which has been taking a beating from other Android and iOS- based phones for lack of applications it offers. Consumers will only embrace the new technology when they know they wouldn’t fall short of applications which other smartphone makers have been providing free of cost.

Talking about Indian market, Blackberry has always maintained an edge over rivals like iPhone and Samsung – mainly due to cost difference and the famed BBM service, which is a hit mainly among youth here. But with the increasing popularity of messenger services like WhatsApp, even BBM would not be enough to lure Indian customers.

Touted as the largest ever global rollout of a new platform by RIM, the main launch is being held in New York in a bid to better its dented image in the US market. Pertinently, its fourth-quarter North American market share fell to 2 percent from more than 40 percent three years ago.

The market, according to Reuters, expects a definite answer from RIM on the dates when full touch-screen devices and the ones with traditional physical keyboards will hit the stores and last but not the least, their prices."The Street is expecting mid-February for a launch. Anything earlier than that is a positive, anything later will be viewed as negative," said RBC Dominion Securities analyst Paul Treiber.

What could make RIM a competitive force in the market, according to experts, is the Blackberry Balance. "The Balance feature is crucial for corporations that are becoming increasingly concerned about data security,” said Andy Ambrozic, head of IT Infrastructure at Ricoh Canada.

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