During the BlackBerry 10 launch event today, CEO Thorsten Heins announced plans to change the company's name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry. The company has also changed its tagline to "One brand. One promise." The company's stock ticker will change to BBRY to reflect the new name.
"We have reinvented the company, and we want to represent this in our brand….We have transformed ourselves inside and out, and we have defined a revision, a dedication to the boundless opportunities in mobile computing," Heins said. "Our customers use BlackBerry. Our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world," he continued.
As expected, BlackBerry also revealed two new BlackBerry 10 smartphones at the launch event, the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10. All four of the major wireless carriers in the United States have committed to stocking BlackBerry 10 devices when they launch. Both of the new smartphones will feature 4G LTE capabilities.
The Z10 will feature a full touchscreen with a 4.2-inch high definition display (1280x768), 16GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, an 8MP camera, and an 1,800 mAh battery. While the Z10 is ready to launch in the UK tomorrow and in Canada later this week, BlackBerry loyalists in the United States will have to wait until March for it to be released. Verizon Wireless plans to offer the handset for $199.99 after discounts and with a contract. We expect to see similar pricing from other carriers in the future. The Z10 will come in black and white models. The white version is exclusive to Verizon Wireless.
The BlackBerry Q10 is reminiscent of previous BlackBerry handsets with its 3.1-inch Super AMOLED square display (720x720) and a full QWERTY keyboard. This smartphone features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 2GB of RAM.
Of course, some of the hype surrounding the new devices is also due to the new OS. BlackBerry 10 is based on QNX. One of the key features of the new platform is the BlackBerry Hub message center which consolidates email, Twitter, Facebook messages, and other forms of communication in a single spot. Given that RIM built a reputation around fast and efficient messaging, it makes sense the company should continue to focus some of its efforts on delivering a modern messaging system that's designed to be quick and easy to use. BlackBerry's core messaging platform now supports video chat and screen sharing.
To satisfy corporate users, BlackBerry Balance divides the phone into work and personal sides. Companies can set policies and maintain security on the work side of the device without interfering with an employee's personal side. A virtual firewall exists between the two sides that will prevent users from copying confidential corporate data from the work to the personal side.
Today's launch event is certainly a big deal for BlackBerry as it works hard to try to regain market share in an increasingly competitive mobile marketplace. Certainly there are BlackBerry loyalists out there, but BlackBerry has also lost a lot of users to Android and iOS over the past few years. Are the new devices and platform enough to attract users to come back? Or will the new platform simply satisfy loyal fans who want something fresh and new? Time will tell.