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RIM's BlackBerry 10: As Good As Gold

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Research on Motion (RIMM) announced on Tuesday that its next smartphone operating system has gone gold.

That means its next-generation OS, BlackBerry 10, is ready for those interested to see what they can do with their BB10 SDK (Software Development Kit). The idea is to give developers time to start playing with the code and create new apps.

It's all very technical - but it really is a big deal for RIM. It's taken the Canadian firm a long time to develop better smartphone software which could compete with Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iOS, Google's (GOOG) Android and Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Windows Phone operating system. In that time, RIM's share price has taken a big slide.

But, as of today, it looks like the company is well on its way to being ready for the big event to introduce BlackBerry 10 to the world on Jan. 30, 2013.

There's a big reason why I'm telling you all this. I was in attendance, last week, when some of the people in the know from RIM HQ were there to show off just a small portion of what BlackBerry 10 will be capable of. I have to admit that despite a large dose of skepticism beforehand I was very, very, impressed with what I saw.

BB10 looks and acts like none of the other popular mobile OSes that I've tried/tested/use daily - although, in some ways, it does remind me of Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) ill-fated N9 smartphone and its innovative MeeGo operating system. Not in every way - but just some of the navigation and feel. For the record, that's a good thing.

We weren't shown a final version of the OS - and I'm not sure that we even saw today's announced "Gold" code. And, I know the hardware was nothing like what the final phones will look like. But, I can tell you that what we saw was nothing like previous BlackBerry software. It looked very cool. Can't wait to see the finished products.

But, until then, check out my colleague James Rogers' videos on what we saw.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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