Beleaguered handset maker Research in Motion (RIM) has been given a big vote of confidence by some of the nation’s largest wireless carriers. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will soon carry Blackberry 10 smartphones, according to a report appearing in Reuters.
Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed that Verizon Wireless, the biggest wireless network in the U.S., would carry at least one Blackberry 10 device. He told the news organization during an interview at CES that “We’re hopeful it’s going to be a good device.”
Executives from AT&T and T-Mobile, namely handset chief Jeff Bradley and CEO John Legere, respectively, said to expect Blackberry 10 on their networks as well.
RIM has a lot riding on Blackberry 10’s impending launch, currently set for January 30th. During the past few years, the Canadian technology company has seen its share of the enterprise mobility market crumble and give way to competitors like Apple and Samsung.
Buoyed by strong sales, expansive app ecosystems and growing acceptance of bring your own device (BYOD) programs, rivals have successfully challenged Blackberry status as the standard-bearer of on-the-go business communications.
IDC noted in October that despite a surge in smartphone sales, RIM has been having a tough time clinging to its modest share of the market. During 3Q12, smartphones shipments rose to 179.7 million units, a 45.2 percent increase compared to the same year-ago period.
Samsung, with the help of its Android-powered handsets like the Galaxy III, took the crown with 31 percent market share and 56.3 million units shipped. Apple’s iPhone managed a strong showing, with 26.9 million units and a 15 percent share of the market.
RIM, meanwhile, saw its shipments dip to 7.7 million units from 11.8 million units, for a mere 4.3 percent of the market. So dire was RIM’s outlook that Morgan Stanley downgraded the company’s stock this past summer amid rumblings of a potential breakup of the company of big layoffs.
To drum up support for Blackberry 10, the company thoroughly modernized its mobile operating system and achieved FIPS 140-2 certification prior to launch. The company also sweetened the deal for Blackberry developers via a cash offer.
In an effort to court big businesses — RIM’s bread and butter in its heyday — the company rolled out a BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview last month. Open to “select customers,” the program allows IT managers to put Berry Enterprise Service 10 software and pre-production BlackBerry 10 smartphones through their paces in their work environments.
Winning the support of some top wireless carriers is a sign that the company’s efforts may be paying off.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.