Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RIM rebrands itself as BlackBerry; intros the BlackBerry 10 platform and the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices

As expected, Research in Motion (RIM) unveiled its new BlackBerry 10 platform -- along with supporting devices -- on Wednesday at 10 a.m. EST in New York City. One key unexpected development: The company is no longer called Research in Motion; it's changed its name to BlackBerry, in a move designed to focus attention on what really drives the company.

It's a natural move. BlackBerry is the image of the company, and the move could be seen as a fresh start for the company, which has seen its market share plummet since the introduction of iOS and Android devices.

Frank Boulben, BlackBerry's chief marketing officer said, in an interview:
BlackBerry is how we're known pretty much everywhere across the world other than North America, so we have an iconic global brand and when you have such a powerful brand, you want to make it central.

Previously we had Research In Motion, BlackBerry, Bold, Curve, Torch, PlayBook - and that dilutes the BlackBerry brand, which is a fantastic asset. Moving to a branded house model allows us to focus our marketing on one name only.
For now, RIM's -- er, BlackBerry's -- ticker symbols are unchanged, but the company change its NASDAQ ticker to "BBRY" and its Toronto Stock Exchange ticker symbol to "BB" in a matter of days.

That was a big announcement, but the BlackBerry 10 platform, seen by many as the company's last stand, was even bigger. To be honest, the announcement was less exciting in terms of the platform, as much of that has already been known, than it was in terms of its devices.

The BlackBerry Z10, one of the worst kept secrets in history thanks to multiple -- and perhaps BlackBerry-backed -- leaks, comes with a 4.2-inch 1,280 x 768 display, amounting to a Retina pixel density of 356 ppi (Apple claims 326 is the magic number). It comes with a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus processor and 2GB of RAM.

In this age of quad-core -- and the Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor expected for the Samsung Galaxy S IV, this processor seems almost underpowered. However, it's less about pure specs and more about performance in the hands of users, and reports have been favorable in that way.

The Z10 also sports 16GB of internal storage, plus a microSD card expansion slot capable of handling up to 32GB of added storage. It supports 802.11a/b/g/n wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (integrated into the backplate) and LTE.

Port-wise, it has the micro-USB, micro-HDMI and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Camera-wise, the Z10 has a 2-megapixel front-facing camera (720p video) and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, capable of 1080p recording.

It ships with a a removable 1,800mAh battery. Its dimension, for those into size, are 5.13 (130mm) x 2.6 (66mm) x 0.37 (9.3mm) inches, which is significantly bulkier than, for example, Samsung Galaxy S III and the iPhone 5.

Long time BlackBerry fans will be happy to know that the Z10 does indeed sport BlackBerry's traditional red notification LED.

In the U.S., Verizon was the first carrier to confirm pricing and availability. Big Red said it will charge $199.99 for the handset (with a two-year contract) when the Z10 arrives in March. It also said that coveted white model will be a Verizon exclusive.

What about devices with the familiar and beloved BlackBerry keyboard? The Q10 is sports a 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of onboard storage, which is expandable with a microSD slot. The 3.1-inch touchscreen has a square 720 x 720 display, which slots in at 330ppi, just enough to be called Retina.

The device is trailing the Z10 by quite a bit. It won't launch until April, said the company, but carriers and pricing are still TBD.

Less-leaked than the Z10, BlackBerry posted a video of the Q10 to clue folks into the Q-for-QWERTY device.

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