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120 US companies begin beta testing BlackBerry 10

The year 2012 brought about many busts and musts for gadget lovers, and for companies like RIM 2012 is one that it doesn't want to remember.  As 2013 approaches, however, RIM is hoping that BlackBerry 10 will be the company's saving grace. Can RIM scratch and claw its way back to prominence?  Or will iOS and Android seal BB's fate with the final blow?

RIM’s future is one of great uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean the Ontario-based handset maker is going to let the ship sink slowly without a fight.  The Android-iOS iceberg is large and sharp, but RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 is built to withstand the unforgiving smartphone market—at least that’s what RIM is hoping BB10 will do.

BB10 began its beta testing today in corporate settings which included more than 120 US companies.  Richard Piasentin, RIM’s US business managing director, said that the test will focus on RIM’s touch-screen device rather than the traditional QWERTY BB device.  Furthermore, he claims that the test clients “agreed to implement the full solution into their infrastructure,” which means that by beta’s end RIM should have a good grasp as to whether or not BB10 is the real deal.

RIM’s marketing department has been very active in promoting the next BB platform, and a recent video showing a demo of the BB10 Dev Alpha device reveals that RIM wants to be a serious contender in the smartphone battle.  Although BB10 lacks in terms of app count, it seems like the OS is in line with current trends set by Google and Apple.  Until we can get an actual hands-on of BB10 however, it remains to be seen whether or not BB10 is just an Android or iOS knock-off. 

The public will get an official look at BB10 on January 30, 2013 when RIM unveils the new lineup of BB devices at Pier 36 in New York.  Consumers will have their hunger for BB (or lack thereof) in February when RIM and its partners launch the devices globally.

It’s hard to imagine that RIM was once a behemoth in the smartphone space with its stock trading at a peak of $147.55 in June 2008.  However, the glory days that BB once experienced are long gone as RIM is currently trading 90 percent below its heyday number.  Despite losing the loyalty of average consumers, RIM managed to hold onto a number of corporate and government clients.  However, recently companies and organizations like Yahoo and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency have spent millions on integrating more iOS and Android devices into their infrastructures. 

RIM is set to close out the year with about 4.7 percent of the smartphone market share, and if BB10 is a bust come early next year then that may be it for the once prosperous handset maker.

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