Research in Motion (RIM) has kicked off the beta testing phase for its BlackBerry 10 (BB10) mobile platform.
The company said that BB10 was entering its first customer trial run with a select group of enterprise and government customers. The beta test will include 120 firms and will include both BB10 and pre-production handsets.
The tests mark the latest step in RIM's development process for its delayed mobile operating system. The company has set a target release date of early 2013 for general availability.
BB10 was supposed be released by Autumn 2012, but was delayed by RIM, as it struggled with development.
"Beginning today, RIM will be visiting some of our enterprise and government ‘early adopters’ and getting them started with the BlackBerry 10 platform," said RIM chief information officer Robin Bienfait.
"At RIM, we've seen the power of our new enterprise mobility management solution first hand, and we are thrilled to share BlackBerry 10 directly with these leading organisations."
The BB10 release will be followed closely throughout the industry and has been hailed as one of the most important in the company's history. After years of lagging behind rival vendors RIM has seen its share of the smartphone market erode.
While the company has vowed to return itself to the top of the mobile space, analysts have been less optimistic about RIM's fortunes. Industry watchers have suggested that the company pursue efforts ranging from selling off its hardware business to pursuing a merger deal with a larger vendor such as IBM.