RIM Unveils BlackBerry 10, Changes Company Name
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
Research in Motion formally introduced its BlackBerry 10 operating system on two new handsets Wednesday and in a surprising move, the company's CEO also announced that the company's name would now be BlackBerry.
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins introduced the system and claimed that the platform represented "a new day in the history of Blackberry."
The company's new ticker symbol will be BBRY.
"We have transformed ourselves inside and out," Heins said. "That's why I am happy to announce we are now BlackBerry."
BlackBerry has a lot riding on the success of the platform. The company is basically starting over with its new operating system and has stiff competition from Apple, Google's Android platform and now Microsoft's Window Phone.
BlackBerry is going to release two variations of the BlackBerry 10 at first. The BlackBerry Z10 will be a touch-screen model and the Blackberry Q10 will feature a keyboard and laso have touch-screen capabilities.
U.S. carriers will begin announcing pre-registration and price plans Wednesday and the Z10 will become available in the U.S. in March. All four major U.S. carriers— AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile—will eventually get the phone, and it is expected to retail for $199, according to BlackBerry.
The BlackBerry Q10 will become available in April.
One of the key new features, though, doesn't necessarily lie in the hardware, but in the software.
RIM is aiming to lure the the enterprise market back with its business centered software called BlackBerry Balance that enables work data and apps to be segregated on the smartphone from the users' personal saved data.
The company also showed off its BlackBerry Hub feature, which essentially enables easier messaging and easier access to multiple apps, as well as the new feature called BlackBerry Remember, a function that enables users to set alerts.
Besides just adding new features though, the company is also improving features already on BlackBerry devices, like BlackBerry Messenger. The company is adding a video-calling function built into the BBM service.
Another surprising move by the newly re-branded company was the announcement that musical artist Alicia Keys will take the new position of global creative director. Keys will work with the app designers, developers, carriers and the musical community to "inspire projects," she said.