If you’ve spent any time reading the tech media in the past year there’s one ongoing saga you’re sure to have come across: amid all the fanfare and record-breaking attached to the iOS and Android juggernauts we’ve witnessed a steady decline in prospects for RIM‘s BlackBerry competing platform. The past 12 months has seen the company suffer network outages job layoffs financial woes (most notably including a plummeting share price) product & feature delays underperformance in the new tablet market and a lessening smartphone user base as users both personal and enterprise migrate to more popular devices. After persistent cries for new leadership RIM hoped to turn the tide recently with its two co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis stepping down but the promotion of new CEO Thorsten Heins drew a mixed response from company watchers who don’t expect much in the way of a strategic overhaul from the former COO of product engineering.
The hopes that do remain for RIM are being pinned on its next generation of BlackBerry 10 QNX smartphones set to replace the company’s current BlackBerry 7 OS and align its smartphone offerings more closely with the architecture of its PlayBook tablet and the first image of the company’s next wave has just been leaked (above). BlackBerry community site CrackBerry has uncovered this slide depicting the BlackBerry 10 ‘London’ thought to be incorporating a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and headed to the UK market. The bad news? As announced by RIM last year the London and other rumoured BlackBerry 10 devices won’t see the light of day until late 2012 which will likely deliver it into stiff competition with Apple’s next iPhone (5?) and the coming wave of Android devices including the soon-to-be-unveiled Samsung Galaxy S III — probably the most eagerly anticipated Android phone currently on the 2012 radar.