We’ve long heard rumors that RIM will drop the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone…sometime late this year. That’s about all we know. We also know that the later the release the worse for RIM. Getting the product to market, and making a favorable early impression, could be key to fourth quarter holiday sales. According to the latest rumor, they’re looking solid in that regard. N4BB cites sources saying RIM plans to announce the first BlackBerry 10 device in August, which primes it for an October release. Even if they do hit both targets, though, they could still face a steep upward battle. As I’ve harped on here at BBGeeks, RIM’s problem extends far beyond creating a great smartphone. The BlackBerry needs a tipping point. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against them. In order to reach that tipping point they not only have to convince their loyal customers that BlackBerry 10 is a viable platform, but they also have the unenviable task of convincing former BlackBerry users that it’s safe to return. Given the successes of Android and iPhone — and with the iPhone 5 reportedly coming months before BlackBerry 10 — the task could be even more difficult than we expect. It appears as though the higher ups in the company realize this. In particular, new RIM board member Prem Watsa, who owns a five-percent stake in the company, expects a long turnaround period. How long? It could be three to five years. For what it’s worth, Watsa, himself a billionaire, increased his stake in RIM because he feels it’s a long-term investment. That is, he believes that the company itself is strong and will successfully turn around. After all, it’s not likely he increased his stake in hopes of finding a buyer for RIM. Even with the optimistic outlook for BlackBerry 10 and the implicit vote of confidence from Watsa, RIM continues to explore its options. Late last week we heard they had hired a law firm with an eye on restructuring. That could involve a number of maneuvers, many of which we’ve discussed here before: asset sales, licensing agreements, and joint ventures. This is all to say that while we won’t have much on the device front from RIM for the next five or so months, there’s plenty afoot at RIM headquarters.