New BlackBerry unveiled

2013-01-30 17:55
The new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

The new touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. (Lefteris Pitarakis, AP)

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New York - The new BlackBerry 10 was unveiled on Wednesday as the former smartphone industry leader moved to regain momentum with a revamped operating system and a pair of sleek new handsets.

The announcement by Research in Motion came in a global product launch in which it also said it had changed the name of the Canadian-based firm to BlackBerry.

"From this point forward RIM becomes BlackBerry," chief executive Thorsten Heins told a glitzy unveiling in New York, one of six global events for the product launch.

"It is one brand, it is one promise."

The company unveiled two new devices for its new platform, one with a physical keyboard, and another with a touchscreen similar to that used on most other smartphones.

The Q10 will have a physical keyboard, while the Z10 has only a touch-screen keyboard.

RIM redesigned the 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.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is hosting the main event in New York. Video of his appearance is being shown at other RIM events in Johannesburg, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, New Delhi and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Heins said the new BlackBerry "will transform mobile communications into true mobile computing".

It won't have as many apps written by outside companies and individuals as the iPhone and Android.

Among other highlights:

- The BlackBerry will emphasise typing with one thumb, with gestures and the ability to delete with a thumb swipe anywhere. It will also recognise 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.

- The Q10 has a squarish screen measuring 3.1 inches (7.8cm) diagonally. The Z10 will have a 4.2-inch (10.6cm) screen for a cinematic experience. Heins said the back is textured so that it will be comfortable to hold.

On Twitter Toby Shapshak ?@shapshak had the following to say:

RT @StuffSA: #BlackBerry10 has 70,000 apps at launch, including Skype, Angry Birds, WhatsApp, Kindle, FNB, Nedbank,WayTag,DStv mobile,News24

Vodacom has announced that the Z10 will be available, but cannot yet confirm dates.

PING!!! BlackBerry 10 will be available on the Vodacom SA network. No dates or prices yet but keep your eyes on your timeline.

Blackberry is the top trending topic on Twitter in South Africa.

Read more on:    blackberry  |  us  |  canada  |  mobile
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