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Is "Made in Canada" Enough to Sell BlackBerry 10?

01/30/2013 12:08 EST | Updated 04/01/2013 05:12 EDT
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The BlackBerry 10 mobile platform is seen after being unveiled January 30, 2013 at the New York City Launch at Pier 36. BlackBerry launched its comeback effort Wednesday with a revamped platform and a pair of sleek new handsets, along with a company name change as part of a move to reinvent the smartphone maker. Canadian-based Research in Motion said it had changed its name to BlackBerry as it launched the BlackBerry 10, the new platform aimed at helping the firm regain traction in a market now dominated by rivals. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

All eyes are on Toronto today for Research In Motion's (now BlackBerry's) big reveal of the long-awaited, oft-delayed BlackBerry 10. Thirteen years after the first BlackBerry device was created, the wireless handheld device, now commonly known as a smartphone, has become an international phenomenon and essential tool for business and pleasure. According to Wikipedia, "the 200-millionth smartphone was shipped in September quarter of 2012." The BlackBerry Internet Service is available in 91 countries. As of last fall, there were 80-million subscribers to BlackBerry in the world.

A canuck success story, the legion of patriotic and loyal CrackBerry users in Canada still cling to the tool they've become addicted to. They root for the return of RIM, for the recognition of Canadian technological superiority, for the resurrection of the brand they have come to love.

But the devil is in the details.

Canadians are forced to put patriotism before their pocketbooks when considering the replacement of their current BlackBerry with the new one. Six-hundred dollars, what the device will cost according to the Globe and Mail, is quite steep for the working class. During these dark winter days, it can pose a dilemma: a week in a sunny Cuban all-inclusive resort or a new tech toy?

The biggest barrier could be the staggering cost of breaking an existing cell-phone contract. The shackles of long-term cellular phone contracts are still legal in Canada. While hundreds of fed-up Canadians swarmed the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission about a proposed code of conduct for the country's wireless industry, three-year contracts from cellphone companies have yet to be banned.

Even worse, signing up with a cellular conglomerate riddled with complaints makes the decision even harder. According to Canada's Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services 2011-2012 report, wireless services topped the complaints list. Rogers Communications, which has exclusive rights to the BlackBerry 10, complaints rose by a whopping 112 per cent. Ouch.

So while many Canadians are rooting for BlackBerry, it will be no surprise to see them rooting from the sidelines and not in line for the BlackBerry 10.

BlackBerry 10 Launch - Jan. 30, 2013