BlackBerry 10 system unveiled
After lengthy delays, Research In Motion Ltd. unveiled its first two phones with the new BlackBerry 10 system. The Q10 will have a physical keyboard, while the Z10 has only a touch-screen keyboard. RIM says it will also change its name to BlackBerry to maintain a single brand. It will have the ticker symbol ‘‘BBRY’’ on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
RIM redesigned the BlackBerry system to embrace the multimedia, apps and touch-screen experience prevalent today. The question is whether there’s time for the once-pioneering BlackBerry to catch up to Apple’s trend-setting iPhone and devices running Google’s Android system.
The latest models
Heins introduces two new phones — the Z10 and the Q10. The Q10 has a physical keyboard, a feature that has kept BlackBerry users loyal over the years. The Z10 will have only a touch-screen keyboard.
The Q10 has a squarish screen measuring 3.1 inches diagonally. The Z10 will have a 4.2-inch screen for a cinematic experience. Heins says the back is textured so that it will be comfortable to hold.
During a question-and-answer session, RIM executives said that some 1,600 companies have been testing the new system.
There’s no firm timeframe on the Q10 model, with the physical keyboard, but Heins says he’s hoping it will be ready in April.
As for the Z10, Heins says it will have about one day of battery life, but the battery will be removable so you can add a spare one.
Alicia Keys recommits to BlackBerry
RIM brings out singer Alicia Keys, who says she had been in a ‘‘long-term relationship’’ with the BlackBerry, but saw more attractive smartphones at the gym. She says that with the new phone, with new features, ‘‘we’re exclusively dating again.’’ Next
BlackBerry gets some new apps
Vice president of global alliances Martyn Mallick talked about some of the apps that are coming to the BlackBerry, including Skype video calling, Kindle e-reader and the ‘’Angry Birds’’ game. It’s also getting social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. He says RIM made a push to get the most heavily used apps on the BlackBerry 10.
More than 70,000 apps will be available. That includes some developed for RIM’s PlayBook tablet, first released in 2011. Even so, that’s just a 10th of what the iPhone and Android offer. Popular service such as Instagram and Netflix won’t have apps on BlackBerry 10.
The last word
Adam Leach, principal analyst at research firm Ovum, calls the new system ‘‘well-designed’’ and says the new phones should appeal to existing BlackBerry users. But he says RIM ‘‘will struggle to appeal to a wider audience, and in the long-term will become a niche player in the smartphone market.’’
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, offers praise for the Z10 and the fact that with the new system, messaging and other services ‘‘are always just one gesture away from the user regardless of the other tasks the phone is performing.’’
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