RIM hints at two BlackBerry 10 phones launching in early February

The company has bought a Super Bowl ad spot to help promote its new BlackBerry devices

Research In Motion has hinted that it will launch two new handsets early next month to accompany the release of its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

RIM is expected to unveil the phones at an event in New York City on Wednesday and will begin promoting BlackBerry 10 to consumers the following Sunday, Feb. 3, when it will air a TV commercial during the Super Bowl.

The sporting event attracts one of the largest TV audiences of the year in America, and companies pay millions of dollars for a 30-second advertising spot, underscoring how important it is for RIM that its new BlackBerry platform will be a hit. The same commercial will also air in Canada, RIM's home country.

In announcing its publicity plans Friday, RIM also hinted at when the phones will be available to consumers. It said the TV spot "kicks off a week of worldwide launch activity for RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform, along with the first two devices to run on the new platform."

If the commercial marks the start of a weeklong buildup to the launch, that would put the North American release of the phones at roughly the start of the second week in February.

The reference to two devices jibes with what the rumor mill has predicted for next week's event: the large-screen Z10 and a second device with a physical keyboard. Images supposedly of the Z10 have begun appearing on BlackBerry enthusiast sites.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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