November 1st Update: Shares of Research in Motion are up more than 8% today after CEO Thorsten Heins yesterday said more than fifty carriers are now testing the devices. Here’s our estimate on how long that process might take and the full text of Hein’s statement to CNET…
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins has just sent a statement to CNET that suggests the release of BlackBerry 10 may be ahead of schedule. Heins says more than fifty carriers are now testing BlackBerry 10 devices.
RIM has said that BlackBerry 10 devices would be available in Q1, but hasn’t provided any detail on when within that three month period their release might take place. In late September, Cormark analyst Richard Tse said the date will depend upon carrier lab certification times. Carrier labs normally take 60 days to certify, he says, but the lag time could be as much as 120 days for new devices, which would mean BlackBerry 10 phones would be available sometime in February.
Recently, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek speculated that BlackBerry 10 phones would not be available until March.
Here is the statement from Heins, in full:
“I’m very pleased to confirm that we have passed a critical milestone in the development of our brand new mobile computing platform, BlackBerry 10. In the last week, BlackBerry 10 achieved Lab Entry with more than 50 carriers – a key step in our preparedness for the launch of BlackBerry 10 in the first quarter of 2013. We made this commitment during our recent results conference call and we have delivered. This process will continue in the coming months as more carriers around the world formally evaluate the devices and our brand new software.
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I have spent the last several weeks on the road visiting with carrier partners around the world to show them the BlackBerry 10 platform and to share with them our plans for launch. Their response has been tremendous. They are excited about the prospect of launching BlackBerry 10 in their markets. Our respective teams are now engaged on the technical and commercial preparation of the launch of BlackBerry 10 and the lab entry is an important milestone in that context.
The hard work will not stop here as we build towards launch. Our developer teams are continuing to generate momentum to bring a wealth of applications to BlackBerry 10, our enterprise teams have started to present BlackBerry 10 devices and services to our business customers, and our engineers are fully mobilized to ensure that BlackBerry 10 launches flawlessly in the first quarter of 2013.”