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RIM Flashes the BlackBerry 10, and Investors Give a Raspberry

ORLANDO, Fla. ( TheStreet) -- Research In Motion's (RIMM) stock tumbled on Tuesday as investors weren't impressed by the handset maker's delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Clearly unconvinced of RIM's ability to claw back smartphone market share from the likes of Apple (AAPL) and Samsung, RIM's stock slid 5.7% to close at $13.48, just hours after CEO Thorsten Heins showed off the operating system at a developer conference in Florida.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins

Heins also unveiled a prototype BlackBerry 10 device. Lacking the keyboard associated with earlier BlackBerrys, the gadget relies instead on touchscreen technology. This, according to RIM, uses modeling algorithms to tailor the screen specifically to a user's hand.

Other features of BlackBerry 10 include "flow," which lets users continually access information by streaming multiple data feeds to a single place. An enhanced camera enables users to tap anywhere on the phone's screen to take a photo.

"BlackBerry creates success and lets you take care of your business, personal or professional, in a way that suits your needs," Heins said. "This is the core of BlackBerry and the purpose of the company."

The demo, however, did little to placate investors as key details about the technology are still lacking.

Heins, for example, did not provide a date for when BlackBerry 10 products will be available during his keynote at the BlackBerry World event. RIM has said the technology will make its debut in the second half of 2012.

Rocked by delayed product launches, and fierce competition from Apple, Google's (GOOG) Android phones, and, increasingly, Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows phones, investors have fled RIM in droves.

RIM shares have plummeted more than 72% over the past 12 months.

Last month Bloomberg reported that RIM is in discussions with a financial adviser to weigh its strategic options.

RIM declined to comment on this story when contacted by TheStreet, although Heins would not rule out a potential sale during the BlackBerry maker's recent fourth-quarter conference call.

RIM's former chief operating officer, Heins took over from the company's controversial co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, in January. The new CEO, however, faces a massive challenge in turning the firm's fortunes around.

The QNX-based BlackBerry 10 technology is key to this effort. Speaking during RIM's fourth-quarter conference call, Heins acknowledged that the lack of an LTE product and a high-end consumer offering has hurt the company's performance. BlackBerry 10, he added, will address this problem later in 2012.

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