RIM launches invitation-only BlackBerry 10 evaluation program

RIM is launching a BlackBerry 10 beta program—putting it one step closer to finally rolling out the highly anticipated mobile platform.

It seems that BlackBerry 10 is on track for an early 2013 release. RIM today announced the launch of a BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview program for 120 select customers.

Organizations participating in the BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview are getting early access to the new BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 enterprise mobility management platform, as well as to a limited number of pre-production BlackBerry 10 smartphones. The beta will give these 120 organizations a chance to explore the features and benefits of BlackBerry 10, and provide valuable real-world feedback RIM can use to work out any remaining hiccups before BlackBerry 10 becomes available to the general public.

The BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview participants span a variety of industries including financial, healthcare, government, insurance, media, and manufacturing. The lineup of beta testers includes 64 Fortune 500 corporations.

Customers participating in the program will be able to get some first-hand exposure to the new platform, and begin to play with some of the new features and capabilities to understand how to use them effectively. Hopefully the BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview and the launch of BlackBerry 10 itself will go smoothly. Its not overly dramatic to say the future of RIM itself could be riding on the success of BlackBerry 10.

To RIMs credit, there are a number of benefits unique to BlackBerry that make it a preferred mobile platform for customers even as the market dominance of the brand has plummeted. BlackBerry Balance is an innovative feature to keep business and personal data separate on the devicesomething that many companies will appreciate as they struggle with BYOD plans, and trying to protect user privacy while also preventing data breaches.

Consumer-driven platforms like iOS and Android are gaining ground in the business market as well, and they pose a threat to RIM. But, its a testament to the strength of the BlackBerry brand and the credibility RIM has established with its customers that its still considered a player in the game, and it still delivers unique benefits and advantages for enterprise management and security that are lacking in iOS and Android.

Were you hoping to jump on the beta bandwagon and get a look at the BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview program? Youre probably out of luck. The program is by invitation only, and is only being offered to 120 select customers.

Are you looking forward to the next generation of the BlackBerry platform? It seems like you wont have to wait too much longer. I received an invitation to a global unveiling event for BlackBerry 10 being held in New York on January 30, 2013.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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