Rogers to take orders for BlackBerry 10 handsets

Rogers Communications has become the first Canadian carrier to take reservations for Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10 device.

However, eager early subscribers won’t know until late next month how much the smart phone will cost.

“Building on our history of innovative firsts, we are excited to offer our customers the opportunity to be among the first in the world to reserve their BlackBerry 10 device,” John Boynton, Rogers’ executive vice president marketing said Monday.

“Rogers was the first carrier in Canada to launch BlackBerry, and the first in Canada to launch an LTE network. We look forward to adding BlackBerry 10 to the largest selection of LTE devices available in Canada.”

Only current Rogers subscribers can reserve a device, the final version of which will only be revealed Jan. 30.

Also this morning RIM announced the BlackBerry 10 technical review program, which gives selected enterprise and government customers the chance to start beta-testing pre-production BB10 handsets with Blackberry Enterprise Service 10, the new mobile management platform.

“Beginning today, RIM will be visiting some of our enterprise and government ‘early adopters’ and getting them started with the BlackBerry 10 platform,” Robin Bienfait, RIM’s chief information officer said in a statement.”

The announcement is one of several RIM has put out in recent days to start momentum towards the release of the long-promised next-generation platform. 

Financial and industry analysts – and RIM executives – agree the new platform is a make-or-break effort for the company, which has gone into the red as sales slump.

In the eyes of buyers, the company’s existing handsets, running on BlackBerry 7 OS, are no match for Apple’s latest iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy S IIIs. RIM has also been hurt by corporate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, which has meant companies that automatically bought RIM handsets for many employees are free to chose other platforms.

More disappointing financial news is expected Thursday afternoon when RIM releases its third quarter results. In fact RIM has already warned investors that another operating loss is expected in Q3.
In September RIM posted a  posted a Q2 fiscal loss of $235 million. The good news is that wasn’t as bad as financial analysts were expecting.
During the quarter it shipped 7.4 milliom BlackBerry handsets and 130,000 PlayBook tablets.

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