BlackBerry 10 and two new BB phones coming 30 January

RIM has announced it will finally unveil BlackBerry 10 software and two smart phones on 30 January -- but is it too late?

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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BlackBerry 10 is coming on 30 January. RIM has announced it will finally unveil its next generation of software and smart phones in the new year -- but is it too late?

BlackBerry-builders Research In Motion will reveal the new operating system alongside two new phones. One will have a signature BlackBerry keyboard and one -- likely to be the BlackBerry London -- will have just a touchscreen. Both will offer a new user experience codenamed the BlackBerry Flow.

The phone with the keyboard will be popular among die-hard BlackBerry users, who appreciate the clicky keys for typing texts and emails. But the number of folks tied to BlackBerry has declined massively in recent years as phone fans discover the benefits of touchscreens and Android phones, which are more versatile and often cheaper.

BlackBerry 10 was expected to arrive this year but has been pushed back to 2013. That means no Christmas sales, no presence on EE -- the UK's first 4G network -- and no counterstrike against iOS 6 and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, both of which launched recently.

The January launch date does however mean that RIM will get in ahead of the rest of the industry's announcements at Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry bunfest held in February each year.

What's in BlackBerry 10? 

There's a lot riding on BlackBerry 10: in the last four years the company's share price has dropped by 90 per cent and market share has gone through the floor. The new software could be RIM's last hope to remain a major player -- if it's any good.

RIM promises "a truly unique mobile computing experience that constantly adapts to your needs. Our team has been working tirelessly to bring our customers innovative features combined with a best in class browser, a rich application ecosystem, and cutting-edge multimedia capabilities."

BlackBerry 10 adds new features such as BlackBerry Balance, which lets you switch off work email and apps but still see your personal stuff. The BlackBerry Flow interface is intended to make it a breeze to move seamlessly between apps without having to eject to the home screen all the time.

Can BlackBerry mount a serious challenge to Android and the iPhone? What does RIM need to do to beat the competition? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.