A look at RIM’s much-delayed BlackBerry 10

On Thursday, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. announced yet another delay to its upcoming BlackBerry 10 system, which the company considers crucial to its future. It’s now expected in the first quarter of next year, rather than late this year.

That means the phones will miss the holiday shopping season and come months after the expected launch of a new iPhone. The delay could make it even harder for RIM to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating software:

Here’s a look at developments surrounding the BlackBerry 10 in recent months:

Dec. 6, 2011: RIM says “BlackBerry 10” will be the new name for its next-generation system after the company loses a trademark ruling on its previous name, BBX.

Dec. 15: RIM says new phones running BlackBerry 10 won’t be out until late 2012. The company says the phones will need a highly integrated chipset that won’t be available until mid-2012, so the company can now expect the new phones to ship late in the year.

May 1: RIM unveils a newly designed smartphone prototype powered by BlackBerry 10. The prototype BlackBerry has a touch screen, but no physical keyboard like most BlackBerry models. No update was given on the new system’s launch date.

May 2: Company stresses that while the prototype has no physical keyboard, RIM will continue to make some models with one.

June 21: Company says the first BlackBerry device running BlackBerry 10 will not have a physical keyboard, only a touch-screen one. Ones with hard keyboards will eventually be made, but the company declines to say when.

Thursday: RIM says it’s delaying the launch of BlackBerry 10 yet again, to the first quarter of next year. CEO Thorsten Heins says RIM’s top priority is a successful launch of the new BlackBerrys. He adds, “I will not deliver a product to the market that is not ready to meet the needs of our customers. There will be no compromise on this issue.”

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