The company formerly known as Research in Motion launched the Blackberry 10 Wednesday morning, the device it hopes will revitalize the company and save its ailing brand.
“We have definitely been on a journey of transformation, a journey to not only transform our business and our brand, but one which I truly believe will transform mobile communications into true mobile computing,” Blackberry boss Thorsten Heins said at a launch event in New York. “It’s been almost one year exactly since I was handed the reins at Research In Motion, and it has been easily the most challenging year of my career to date. It has also been by far the most exhilarating and the most rewarding one.”
Mr. Heins said this was a “new day in the history of Blackberry.”
The first of the Blackberry 10 devices – the Z10 – will be launching in the UK and Canada later this week. The US launch is expected in mid-March, something Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins blames on a slow testing process by American carriers.
At the core of the Z10 is a dual-core CPU clocked to 1.5GHz (it is unknown as to the type), 2GB of RAM with 16GB of internal storage, WiFi, GPS, and LTE. The Z10 has two cameras: a 8 megapixel one on the rear capable of 1080p video, and a front-facing 2 megapixel camera that can capture 720p. It has a 1280 x 768, 356 PPI LCD screen.
The BB10 OS looks nothing like the Blackberry OS of yesteryear: it has been completely redesigned to accommodate the touchscreen-centric nature of the device. The new OS includes a predictive keyboard, and the Blackberry Hub which aggregates social media and email allowing a “one stop shop” for everything communication.
As many will use their Blackberry for both work and play, BB10 offers features to segregate work email and apps from personal email and apps.
Blackberry boss Thorsten Heins said that in Canada, the Z10 would be on sale for at “around” the $149.99 pricepoint on a three-year plan, and $599 without the subsidy of a contract.
Blackberry also introduced the Q10, a device that merges BB10 with a physical keyboard.
“We heard you loud and clear,” Mr. Heins said at the launch. “We built this for those people who said they just had to have the physical keyboard typing experience.”
While the Q10 looks very much like a traditional Blackberry, it packs the punch of a BB10 device.
The full set of specs have yet to be released for the Q10. RIM says that more information will be available closer to the launch of the Q10, in April.
Blackberry is currently trading at $14.69 on the NASDAQ, down 6 percent in today’s trading.