RIM plans to continue making the PlayBook tablet despite lackluster sales. The company says it will focus on industries such as finance and health care, where RIM can provide value-added services beyond hardware. An upgrade is planned so that existing PlayBooks will get the new BlackBerry 10 system, too.
So how to pronounce the new Z10? It’s being called ‘‘zed-10’’ around the world — but ‘‘zee-10’’ in the U.S.
During a question-and-answer session, RIM executives say 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.
Some of the initial reaction is lukewarm. Jefferies analyst Peter Misek calls the unveiling good, but not great. But he says ‘‘we didn’t get any negative surprises.’’
Event wraps up. RIM says it’s giving all audience members a Z10 to go.
RIM’s stock remains down — about 5.3 percent, at $14.83. It had traded as low as $14.41 earlier as the event took place. It had been up more than 3 percent before the event, with a high for the day of $16.62.
The stock has traded in the range of $6.22 to $18.32 in the past 52 weeks. It’s up about 24 percent so far this year, compared with less than 6 percent for the S&P 500 index.
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.’’
Heins says the Z10 — which he’s pronouncing ‘‘zed-10’’ — will be out in the U.K. on Thursday, in Canada on Feb. 5 and in the U.S. in March. Prices will vary by carrier, but they will be around $150 with a three-year service contract in Canada. Testing with U.S. carriers is continuing.
He didn’t say when the Q10, with the physical keyboard, will be out or for how much.
Mallick talks 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 tenth of what the iPhone and Android offer. Popular service such as Instagram and Netflix won’t have apps on BlackBerry 10.
RIM demonstrates the Balance, which allows two personas on the same device. Businesses can keep their data secure without forcing employees to get a second device for personal use. It’s a previously announced feature.
RIM also unveils the ability to share your entire screen with other users using a feature called BBM Screen Share.
RIM’s stock drops further to $14.68, down 6.3 percent.
On stage, executives demonstrate the BlackBerry Hub. You can send a Twitter message straight from it, and it integrates LinkedIn. It also integrates your contacts.
The BlackBerry will emphasize typing with one thumb, with gestures and the ability to delete with a thumb swipe anywhere. It will also recognize if you switch languages in the middle of the email, which could be popular in India and other markets where the BlackBerry is still strong.
RIM’s stock is down 39 cents, or 2.5 percent, at $15.27.
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.
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.
Heins says, ‘‘''we know there is a lot of physical keyboard lovers out there.’’
Heins says the company will change its name to BlackBerry in order to maintain one brand and one promise.
Heins says the new BlackBerry is being built for people who are ‘‘hyper-connected socially.’’ He says it’s aimed at people who need balance in their personal and professional lives. Heins made similar remarks when he previewed the BlackBerry 10 at a September speech in San Jose, Calif.Continued...