January 30 confirmed as BlackBerry 10 launch date

RIM has set a date for the official launch of the L-Series BlackBerry 10, the handset the company is betting on to reverse its dwindling fortunes and catapult it back into the smartphone market.

Scheduled for January 30, 2013, the media event will be held in several world cities including New York. Although famous for building smartphones with permanent QWERTY keyboards, the new BlackBerry will feature a full touch screen as well as a number of innovative features including BlackBerry Balance, which essentially gives a handset two identities -- a business phone and a personal phone -- and keeps work and leisure data, contacts and content separate. Other innovations include embedding access to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Evernote as native apps so that they work across the device.

However, RIM has publicly stated that it won't be turning its back on keyboards and a BlackBerry handset more familiar to its existing customers, with a full QWERTY input, is also expected to roll out later in 2013.

Once the darling of the smartphone world, RIM has recently fallen on hard times and has seen its share of the global smartphone market plummet to 4.2 percent. According to figures released by Canalys, the company sold 7.3 million BlackBerry handsets in the third quarter of 2012, behind Samsung (55.5 million) and Apple (26.9 million).