TORONTO — Research In Motion Ltd. plans to showcase the first two of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones on Jan. 30 and start selling the devices in February, moving forward with a critical step in its comeback bid.
''We want to do it as quickly as possible,'' chief operating officer Kristian Tear said in an interview following RIM's announcement of the Jan. 30 date earlier in the day. Though the first phones won't go on sale simultaneously worldwide, RIM is aiming for a release on multiple continents within 30 days of the unveiling, Tear said.
The rollout will finally get the BlackBerry 10 into consumers' hands after multiple product delays put the phones a year behind schedule. RIM needs a hit to help it reverse market-share losses over the past two years to Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android software.
While customers will still have to wait 11 weeks until they know exactly when the BlackBerry 10 will go on sale, Monday's announcement helps assure them that the product is coming, said Steven Li, an analyst at Raymond James in Toronto. Until now, RIM has said only that the BlackBerry 10 would be released in the first quarter of 2013.
''They've got to keep the buzz going,'' Li said.