Research In Motion on Wednesday unveiled a new line of smartphones rinning on its BlackBerry 10 OS, it says will put the company on the comeback trail in a market it once dominated.
Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said RIM was abandoning the name it has used so far. From now on the company will just be known as BlackBerry.
As part of the move, the company will now trade as "BB" on the Toronto Stock Exchange and "BBRY" on the NASDAQ. The changes to the company's ticker symbols will be effective at the start of trading on Monday, February 4, 2013. The company's website (www.rim.com) has changed to www.blackberry.com and soon company email addresses will migrate to @blackberry.com suffix.
The new BlackBerry 10 OS is available on two new LTE-enabled smartphones, the BlackBerry Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones.
"Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience," said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO of BlackBerry. "We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving."
BlackBerry 10 is platform that is smooth and responsive. It has a modern design and a gesture-based interface. Its basic features include:
- BlackBerry Hub, which is a single place to manage all your conversations whether personal or work email, BBM messages, social media updates or notifications, and the ability to "peek" into the BlackBerry Hub from anywhere,.
- BlackBerry Flow - features and apps flow seamlessly together, helping you complete the task at hand effortlessly. For example, you can tap on an attendee listed for a meeting to see their latest tweet or LinkedIn profile. Or tap the thumbnail of a picture you just took to launch the Picture editor and quickly apply a transformation or filter, then instantly share it with your contacts.
- A keyboard that adapts to you, that learns what words you use and how you use them, then offers them up to you so you can type faster.
- BBM (BlackBerry Messenger), which allows you to share things with the people that matter to you in an instant. BBM in BlackBerry 10 includes voice calling and video chat, and introduces the ability to share your screen with another BlackBerry 10 contact.
- BlackBerry Balance technology, which separates and secures work applications and data from personal content on BlackBerry devices.
- Time Shift, a camera feature that lets you capture a group shot where everyone is smiling with their eyes wide open. Story Maker, which lets you bring a collection of photos and videos together, along with music and effects, to produce an HD movie that you can instantly share.
- The new BlackBerry 10 browser, which RIM says it sets the industry benchmark for HTML5 support on smartphones. Scrolling or zooming is responsive. The browser includes many advanced features, supports multiple tabs, lets you browse sites privately, includes a reader mode, and integrates with the platform for easily sharing content.
- BlackBerry Remember, which combines memos, tasks and much more into a single experience. It helps you organize and manage information you have on your smartphone around projects or ideas, letting you collect content such as websites, emails, photos, documents, and other files, and then like a To-Do list, lets you create tasks, assign due dates, and track your progress. If your BlackBerry 10 smartphone is set up with a work account, your Microsoft Outlook Tasks will automatically be wirelessly synced with BlackBerry Remember.
- BlackBerry Safeguard technology that helps protect what is important to you, and the business you work for.
- Built-in support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync so your BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10 smartphone can be simply connected and managed as other ActiveSync devices in a company, or enabled with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 to gain secure access to work email, "behind the firewall" applications and data, and benefit from other security and enterprise mobility management features.
- The BlackBerry World storefront, which now includes 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps and one of the most complete music and video catalogs in mobile today - with most movies coming to the store the same day they are released on DVD. In addition, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare apps for BlackBerry 10 are preinstalled, and BlackBerry 10 users will have access to applications from Disney, Cisco, Foursquare, Skype and Rovio.
The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones are the fastest and most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature TI OMAP 4470 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high density pixel and screen technology. Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone. They also have a removable battery.
The Z10 is an all touchscreen device with a 4.2-inch screen displaying at a 1280?768 resolution with resolution with 356 PPI. It also features a microSD expansion slot,n an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Q10 handset features a full QWERTY keyboard as well as a 3.1-inch physical touch screen. It will have a 720 x 720 resolution display.
Models of the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 will be available from carriers to support their respective 4G LTE or HSPA+ networks, and all the available models include connectivity support for global roaming. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will also each come in White and Black.
In the UK, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available beginning tomorrow on pay monthly contracts and pre-pay plans from EE, O2, Vodafone, Phones 4u, BT, 3UK and the Carphone Warehouse. BlackBerry Z10 smartphones will be available fully subsidized on monthly pay contracts.
In Canada, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available on February 5th. Pricing will vary by carrier, but it will retail for around $149.99 on a 3 year contract.
In the UAE, the BlackBerry Z10 will be available on February 10th. Pricing will vary by carrier, but unsubsidized it will retail for AED 2,599.
In the U.S. market, RIM expects availability with most carriers for the BlackBerry Z10 to be in March. The handset will start at $149.99 and will be available on T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T. Verizon Wireless announced that it will be available starting at $199.99 for either the black or white versions. Today, U.S. carriers will start announcing pre-registration and price plans.
RIM expects the first global carriers to launch the BlackBerry Q10 in April.
At the close of its BlackBerry 10 launch event today, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins also introduced 14-time Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and entrepreneur, Alicia Keys, as BlackBerry's new Global Creative Director. As an official member of the BlackBerry team, Keys will lead an array of new business initiatives that will drive engagement with BlackBerry and perception of the brand.
In her new role, Keys will work closely with app developers, content creators, retailers, carriers and the entertainment community to further shape and enhance the BlackBerry 10 platform.
At this morning's launch event, Keys revealed BlackBerry's new "Keep Moving" Project, which engages BlackBerry users in experiences created by artists, writers, designers, filmmakers, musicians, and athletes. Renowned film director Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City), and author Neil Gaiman (Coraline, Stardust, The Sandman) will join Keys as the first three "BlackBerry Partners" leveraging the power of the new platform to create original content and special user engagements.