RIM offers MPs sneak peek at BlackBerry 10

TORONTO – Some of Ottawa’s key government officials will be among the first to get a sneak peek of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system.

The Canadian Press has learned that Research In Motion (TSX:RIM) has sent invitations to a list of select politicians for an event in the nation’s capital on Nov. 7.

Designed to drum up excitement on Parliament Hill, RIM will host a walk-through of the new system at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. Politicians will also have a chance to mingle with executives of the company.

Invitations were sent to MPs, their assistants, members of Industry Canada, and regional caucus members.

“Get a sneak peek of BlackBerry 10, the next generation mobile platform that will change everything,” the invitation reads.

“You’re invited to join BlackBerry Government Forum 2012 for an exclusive invite-only presentation.”

RIM is preparing to launch its new operating system and BlackBerry devices early next year, though a specific launch date hasn’t been set. A touch screen version of the smartphone is expected to debut first, followed by a keypad variation of the device.

Government workers have been heavy BlackBerry users since the early days of RIM, particularly because the devices are known for their encryption system, which adds another layer of protection to confidential information.

Despite the onslaught of competitors in the North American consumer market, including Apple’s iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S3, the BlackBerry remains the dominant phone on Parliament Hill.

Each Member of Parliament is issued a BlackBerry smartphone when they take the job, and the BlackBerry Messenger service has become the substitute for a quick email.

RIM’s PlayBook tablet device hasn’t proven as successful, though, and House members are often seen using iPads instead.

In other countries, the BlackBerry has also been a staple of politicians, including in the U.S. where President Barack Obama said during his first campaign that he relied on the device.

However, several companies have jumped ship from RIM phones to other devices in recent months, primarily due to several delays in the roll out of the latest version.

On Friday, U.S. government adviser Booz Allen Hamilton said it was shutting down its BlackBerry server and allowing its employees to use iPhones and Android devices.