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Big week for BlackBerry: BB 10 to launch Wednesday, Super Bowl ad to follow

It’s been a long time coming, but Research In Motion will finally pull the covers off its new BlackBerry 10 platform this week, a platform the Canadian mobile maker hopes will restore its fortunes and win back users – both consumers and businesses – who’ve been dumping their BlackBerry devices for rival handsets.

A global launch event on Wednesday will see the company unveil two brand new handsets – one with a touchscreen and the other with a physical keyboard – together with an operating system designed to dazzle. The new phones are expected to start shipping some time in February.

Following Wednesday’s launch, RIM will introduce its new platform to the masses with a 30-second ad to be aired during the Super Bowl on February 3, a slot costing the company somewhere in the region of $3.8 million.

“A Super Bowl commercial is a great opportunity to show the re-designed, re-engineered and re-invented BlackBerry to tens of millions of consumers on the largest advertising stage of the year,” RIM’s chief marketing officer, Frank Boulben, said in a release over the weekend, adding, “BlackBerry has 30 million social media fans, and we’re looking forward to continuing to encourage them and all NFL football fans to see the power of BlackBerry 10 for themselves.”

According to the release, RIM will also be launching a new tablet somewhere down the line, though no specific details were given. Such a BB10 tablet would follow in the footsteps of RIM’s current tablet offering, the much-maligned PlayBook, though an all-new design powered by an all-new operating system should give it at least a fighting chance of making an impact in the marketplace.

Once known as the Crackberry for its supposed addictive qualities, a failure to innovate and a string of service disruptions and other problems in 2011 caused many to exchange their renamed ‘Crapberry’ device for one made by rivals like Apple or Samsung whose handsets came with more features, more apps and fewer problems. If the Ontario-based company fails to impress with its new BB10 OS and hardware, it could be curtains for a company that was once king of the smartphone world. It’s going to be a big week for BlackBerry, and an even bigger year.

[via engadget]