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RIM Wants a Bronze for BlackBerry

BlackBerry is not looking to take down Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) or Android in the smartphone market, but it does want that third ecosystem position that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is also eyeing.

Speaking at the BlackBerry maker's Developers' Conference Tuesday in San Jose, Calif., RIM CEO Thorsten Heins told reporters that RIM has a clear shot at being the No. 3 operating system in the world and that RIM employees aren't sleeping much as they prep for the launch of BlackBerry 10 early next year. (See RIM Delays BlackBerry 10 Phones 'Til 2013.)

"We're lining up carriers to get ready to deliver the first Blackberry 10 devices to you," Heins said, although he declined to give an actual launch date.

Even so, Heins claimed the launch is on track, with carrier lab tests beginning next month. He has spent the last couple of months showing off prototypes of the device to the wireless operators, starting in RIM's hometown in Canada. (See RIM Hopes BB10 Roadshow Will Wow Carriers .)

The reception has been positive, Heins said. But, RIM spent most of the day pitching developers on the platform and trying to win back those he admitted have already written RIM off. (See OS Watch: RIM Loses Developer Support and RIM CEO 'Not Satisfied' but Confident in BB10.)

In one of the more bizarre ways RIM pledged its commitment to developers, it showed off the following video, which says it all ... or, at least, says something.

RIM also gave developers a new hardware reference platform, dubbed Dev Alpha B and running the QNX-based OS, to test their wares on. Among the updates to the OS it showed off were "flow," its user experience designed around seamless transitions between the smartphone's various screens and apps; "peek," which lets users see their notifications under the app they are running; and BlackBerry Balance, which separates a user's personal and professional apps and services.

Heins also said Tuesday that the company, which reports earnings on Thursday, is well on its way to turning around it business. RIM is 40 to 50 percent done with its workforce reductions, he said, and already has its new leadership team in place.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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