BlackBerry Begins Its Brand Rebuild With Z10, Q10 and Alicia Keys
Research In Motion needed to wow the crowd assembled Jan. 30 in New York City to see the unveiling of BlackBerry 10, the mobile platform that's been two years in the making and on which RIM's fate largely rests. But CEO Thorsten Hein's first order of business was to announce that the name of the company has been changed to BlackBerry. "The new starting line that today represents starts with one consistent brand," said Heins. Then, finally came the new BlackBerry handsets, the Z10 with its 4.2-inch touch-screen, and the Q10, which pairs a 3.1-inch display with a physical backlit QWERTY keypad. The smartphone offers what Heins called "the absolute best typing experience in the industry." Heins, with Vivek Bhardwaj, RIM's head of software, then proceeded to show off all the cool things BlackBerry 10 can do—the Peek gesture that lets a user pull aside a screen to check on the app behind it; the Hub, where users can view collected information from multiple apps at a glance. There are also new video calling and Screen Share features in BlackBerry Messenger, along with a Storyteller tool that instantly turns images into fun, viewable content and much more. Talk of mail, servers and the enterprise—the stuff of Research In Motion—was largely absent at the first official BlackBerry 10 event.
Readying the crowd at the BlackBerry 10 New York City event—which was live streaming to events in Paris, Dubai and beyond—an emcee interviewed Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations, who has spent the last year keeping developers' spirits up and their apps trickling into BlackBerry World. The store is launching with more than 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps, but by the time the new phones arrive in the United States, there will be more than 100,000.