RIM hoping that new BlackBerry will bear fruit

THE long-awaited next generation of BlackBerry smartphones will be unveiled this week, in a make or break moment for manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM).

The Canadian company will unveil two new devices running BlackBerry 10, the first major overhaul to its software in years. The much-needed upgrade has been beset by technical delays while RIM has dramatically lost market share to Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android software.

At a launch event in New York, chief executive Thorsten Heins will emphasise the multitasking and reliability of the new devices. One will be a touchscreen phone, similar in size to the iPhone, while the other will have a physical keyboard.

The company believes that much of its software, such as its email functionality and BlackBerry Messenger chat service, will still be in demand.

The handsets and new operating system will be heavily marketed, including with a 30-second advert at the Super Bowl next Sunday evening, estimated to cost around $3.7m (£2.3m) for the slot alone.

Despite BlackBerry’s declining market share and RIM’s mounting losses, investor confidence in the company has improved in recent months. Its market capitalisation has trebled since September’s lows and now stands at $9.2bn, while Chinese computer giant Lenovo last week identified the company as a potential acquisition target.