Wireless carriers will soon have a chance to judge for themselves whether BlackBerry phones based on a new operating system live up to promises by Research in Motion.
The Canadian company will begin delivering "beta" versions of the smartphones to carriers next week, The Wall Street Journal reported, as RIM seeks to reinvigorate interest in a deteriorating brand.
RIM disappointed investors earlier this summer when it revealed that its plans to release the BlackBerry 10 phones would be delayed until early next year. The BlackBerry maker continues to lose share in the growing smartphone market largely due to the proliferating number of phones running on Google's Android operating system.
Thorsten Heins, CEO of the beleaguered company, told the Journal RIM would ramp up production of the test devices over the next few months with the finished product still scheduled to be ready in early 2013.
Measuring mobile device sales to end-users based on the operating system, Gartner revealed Tuesday that RIM's market share plunged to 5.2 percent in the second quarter from 11.7 percent a year ago.
In a research note earlier this month, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said RIM's BlackBerry subscriber base was being targeted as a result of the BB10 delay.
But Heins remains optimistic that the new phones -- and BlackBerry -- will be a success.
"The carriers want us to keep that installed base [of BlackBerry users]," he told the Journal.