Research In Motion gives Canadian carriers a look at its new BlackBerrys
While the phones won't be available to the public until early next year, a group of RIM executives, including CEO Thorsten Heins, met with carriers in Canada, Mexico, and some in the United States to begin a process that the company hopes will lead to firm commitments from the providers.
"The response that we got back from the executive team at some of the Canadian carriers was tremendous," Andrew McLeod, managing director of RIM's Canadian operations, said in a media briefing near the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Ont. on Thursday.
"They were visibly positive and visibly enthusiastic."
The unveiling marks a significant step for RIM, which has struggled with numerous delays of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, and the touchscreen and physical keyboard phones that will hit the market at the same time.
RIM (TSX:RIM) is maintaining some secrecy around the devices, declining to say which carriers it met with, or make public any technical specifications of the new devices.
The country's biggest wireless companies include Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) and Bell (TSX:BCE), who were both early carriers of BlackBerry products in its early years, as well as Telus (TSX:T).
McLeod said the next step is to quickly begin discussions with the carriers over the product launch, a process that covers everything from the marketing of the phones to the technological support.
"We will probably start those types of dialogues very, very quickly," he added.
Further stops are scheduled for Europe, Africa and Asia in the coming weeks.
The BlackBerry 10 launch is considered a major challenge for the company as it faces intense competition from Apple's iPhone and smartphones using the Android operating system and possibly other rivals. Each is trying to grab a significant chunk of the market and curry favour with carriers.