Research In Motion said Monday that more than 120 of its enterprise customers will begin testing its upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform as part of the new BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview Program rolling out this week.
RIM did not disclose the names of the organizations participating in the program, but said 64 of them are Fortune 500 companies.
In addition to testing RIM's next-generation BlackBerry 10 software, the 120 participating companies will perform beta-testing on RIM's new mobility management platform, BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10, along with new BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
"Beginning today, RIM will be visiting some of our enterprise and government 'early adopters' and getting them started with the BlackBerry 10 platform," said Robin Bienfait, CIO of RIM, in a statement. "At RIM, we've seen the power of our new enterprise mobility management solution first-hand, and we are thrilled to share BlackBerry 10 directly with these leading organizations."
Slated to launch Jan. 30, BlackBerry 10 represents a major overhaul of RIM's existing BlackBerry lineup, ushering in both a new generation of BlackBerry smartphones and the mobile software they run on. The launch will be a major one for RIM, which has struggled to compete against smartphone giants Apple and Google and looks largely to BlackBerry 10 as its shot for revival.
According to Kevin Burden, director of mobility at research firm Strategy Analytics, the BlackBerry 10 Technical Preview Program underscores RIM's confidence in BlackBerry 10, along with its determination to make the platform a hit among its bread-and-butter enterprise customers.
"Getting devices early into the hands of its best and largest enterprise customers confirms the confidence RIM has in its new BlackBerry 10 platform and is an important step leading up to its launch," Burden said in a statement. "Beyond reinforcing its commitment to those loyal to the BlackBerry platform's future, the program stands to deliver valuable real-world feedback from multiple industries before RIM takes the platform live."
RIM scored a win with BlackBerry 10 last week when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said it was rolling out a pilot program in January to start testing BlackBerry 10. ICE said it looks forward to continuing its long partnership with RIM, despite its announcement in October that it was ditching its BlackBerrys for Apple's iPhones.
Barbara Gonzalez, press secretary for ICE, told CRN that the agency wasn't officially reversing its decision to adopt iPhones but wasn't necessarily "backing away" from BlackBerry, either. She said ICE, specifically, is evaluating how BlackBerry 10 could provide a platform for new law enforcement apps the agency is deploying.
PUBLISHED DEC. 17, 2012