This morning BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion) announced the public debut of the new BlackBerry 10 operating system along with two new phones. The event was an odd spectacle, having a combination of both youthful celebrity vigor and corporate arrogance. BlackBerry 10 marks a new chapter for BlackBerry, with the company finally playing catch-up to iOS and Android. Is this the boost that BlackBerry needs to sustain their smartphone relevance? Or will this be the final nail in the coffin? Here are top 10 facts about this morning’s press event you need to know.
1. The Company That Makes BlackBerry Now Is Called BlackBerry
In the early 2000s the name BlackBerry was ubiquitous with smartphones all over the world. Everyone knew the name Blackberry, but very few knew the name Research In Motion, the company that produced those phones. Well, during this morning’s press conference, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins announced that the company is officially changing its name to BlackBerry. The company’s stock symbol will be changing as well, from RIM to BBRY. Hopefully people won’t confuse it with Burberry.
2. BlackBerry Unveiled Alicia Keys As Spokesperson And Global Creative Director
It was just a few days ago Keys posted saying how she is an iPhone junky. Alicia Keys joined Thorsten Heins on stage at RIM’s press conference this morning in New York City. Keys announced her relationship with BB and said she is now BlackBerry’s ‘Global Creative Director.’
3. BlackBerry Revealed 2 New Phones
BlackBerry revealed two phones today. The first is the Z10, a full touchscreen phone powered by BlackBerry 10. The phone will have a 4.2-inch display, with 1280×768 and 356ppi resolution. There will be a dual core 1.5 Ghz processor and 2 GB of RAM. The phone will have 16 GB of storage, but will allow for expandable memory with MicroSD cards. The rear-facing camera will be 8 MP and can shoot 1080p video. The front-facing camera will be 2 MP and can shoot 720p video.
The second phone is the BlackBerry Q10, equipped with an actual physical QWERTY keyboard. The device resembles the design of the BlackBerry Bold but lacks the ol’ trackball. The Q10 still demonstrates BlackBerry 10’s touch features, but is targeted to those dinosaurs that yearn for a tactile keyboard.
4. RIM Keeps On Loving You
BlackBerry Vice President, Alec Saunders, and other VPs, made a music video titled “Devs, BlackBerry is going to Keep On Loving You.” It was inspired by Reo Speedwagon’s “Keep On Loving You.”
5. You Can Now Make Voice And Video Calls Through BBM
A major update that BlackBerry made to its BBM service is the ability to make video and voice calls through BBM. BlackBerry also added a new screen share option.
6. BlackBerry 10 Adds A Ton Of New Navigation Features
The focus of the announcement today was on the functionalities and features of BlackBerry 10. These features include:
BlackBerry Hub - a notification panel that unifies all of the user’s social media alerts, emails, text messages, and BBM messages. Users can tweet and send email without leaving the Hub. BlackBerry calls it their “Inbox on Steroids.”
BlackBerry Flow – BlackBerry’s new multitasking feature allows for 8 apps to be easily used at once. Users can easily navigate to and from each app with a simple swipe.
BlackBerry Peek – kind of like Android’s notification bar, but users can “peek” at notifications while still having view of the app they are currently using.
7. BlackBerry World Has Over 70,000 Apps
RIM announced popular apps like AngryBirds, Kindle Fire, Sype, Twitter, Rdio, Evernote, Flixter, Cut The Rope, ESPN ScoreCenter, will be available in the BlackBerry World store. BlackBerry world also includes music, video and over 70,000 apps.
8. It’s Now Easy To Separate Work Apps With Personal Apps
BlackBerry 10 has a feature called BlackBerry Balance that completely separates all activity used for work and all personal/casual activity. BlackBerry claims that both work and personal data will not conflict with each other. If an employee moves on to work at another company, all work-related data can be wiped remotely.
9. BlackBerry Boasted About Their “Unique” Keyboard
During their announcement this morning, BlackBerry claimed that they have the best virtual keyboard experience. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on one to confirm that. They demonstrated a new word prediction features where users can “flick” words from the keyboard to the screen. They also claimed that users can type everything they need to type simply by using one thumb.
10. BlackBerry Z10 Will Be Available Next Month
The BlackBerry Z10 will be released in the U.K. early next month and will be available in Canada on Feb 5th. U.S. BlackBerry fans can expect to buy the BlackBerry Z10 sometime in March. Verizon and AT&T will carry the first phones supporting BlackBerry 10 operating systems. The BlackBerry Z10 will be sold at a retail price of $199 with a two year contract, and unlocked versions of the BlackBerry Z10 will be $599. Details of the Q10 have yet to be released.