Research in Motion (RIM) is going to launch a brand spanking new smartphone platform called “BlackBerry 10” during the first quarter of 2013. The company’s CEO, Thorsten Heins, just published a letter saying that the platform is currently being tested by over 50 operators. He also says that when he shows operators the new platform, their response is “tremendous”. Whether that means tremendously impressed or tremendously disappointed wasn’t clarified. We’re joking of course, and we honestly wish RIM the best of luck. They used to be an innovative company, so who knows, maybe they have something up their sleeves that’ll surprise us? Take the BlackBerry 10 keyboard for example, which was demoed several months ago. The company kept on emphasizing the feature whereby the word you’re trying to type appears over the letter you’re about to press. That’s in Android 4.2 in case you haven’t noticed!

What impact will RIM have on the Android ecosystem? That’s tough to say since we don’t yet know all the features of BlackBerry 10. RIM has a ton of loyal fans, that can’t be denied. Many Android users were former BlackBerry users who were simply tired of using an outdated platform. Are they going to switch back? Again, these are questions we’re not going to find the answers to until next spring.

RIM’s biggest competitor right now is Microsoft, who is desperately trying to make Windows Phone the default third choice for people shopping for a new smartphone. Microsoft is going to throw a ton of money at promoting Windows Phone, so there’s a good chance that RIM’s marketing message is going to be drowned out by all the Live Tiles you’re going to see plastered around your city.

At the end of the day, we’ll say it again, competition is good. All companies like to steal features from each other. It’s how they implement said features that makes them unique and distinctive.