RIM will continue offering BlackBerry 7 devices until it can build a full BlackBerry 10 lineup [UPDATED]Alex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
RIM is currently planning to launch its first BlackBerry 10 devices in the first quarter of 2013, but just because the company is pushing a shiny new OS to the public, that doesn't mean that it'll be dropping its current OS the second that BlackBerry 10 debuts. Speaking during a shareholder conference today, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed that BlackBerry 7 devices will live on until RIM can release a "full portfolio" of BlackBerry 10 products. The initial BlackBerry 10 devices will occupy the high-end of RIM's lineup, which Heins said will consist of fewer products, while the BlackBerry 7 handsets will fill in the entry-level and mid-range areas. Heins also reaffirmed that the first QWERTY BlackBerry 10 handset will "immediately" follow the debut of the full-touch model.
We've known for a while now that RIM is planning to produce BlackBerry 10 devices with physical keyboards, but I'm sure that keyboard addicts are glad to hear that RIM still plans to release its first QWERTY BlackBerry 10 phone shortly after its first full-touch handset. It's kind of interesting to think that BlackBerry 7 products will live alongside those new BlackBerry 10 devices initially, especially since that BlackBerry 7 has been around since May 2011 (or January 2012 if we're talking BlackBerry 7.1). Still, RIM will still be cranking out those low-cost BlackBerry 7 products for other countries, and I'm sure that the company prefers this option instead of wiping out its BlackBerry 7 line after BlackBerry 10's debut. How many of you are thinking about checking out BlackBerry 10 once it debuts early next year?
UPDATE: RIM CEO Thorsten Heins also confirmed during today's meeting that the BlackBerry 10 version of the BlackBerry Messenger service will feature video chat support. Heins also said that "there's many other features to come with BB10 that will really level this BBM experience," but the exec didn't go into any further detail.