RIM has launched its latest flagship BlackBerry 10 smartphones, and has revealed it has changed its corporate name to BlackBerry to coincide with the launch.
The company used events in six major cities around the world to unveil the BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones.
The phones are each powered by dual-core, 1.6-GHz processors, have 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Z10 has a 4.2-inch touchscreen only, while the Q10 has a 3.1-inch screen and a physical keyboard.
Both smartphones use BlackBerry 10, the new OS on which the company is banking its turnaround hopes. Features include multitasking support for up to eight simultaneous apps, a new universal hub for notifications and a revamped web browser.
The handsets will go on sale in the UK today, in Canada on February 5, the UAE on February 10 and the US in March. They will be rolled out in other markets starting in April.
To mark the launch, RIM has changed its name to BlackBerry, effective immediately. The company's ticker codes, website and company email addresses will be changed to reflect the new name.
Informa principal analyst Malik Saadi gave the new BlackBerry Z10 high marks for providing “some of the most efficient, accurate and engaging ways to access messaging and social networking services to date.”
But reiterated his assertion that BlackBerry will need to sell at least 1 million BlackBerry 10 smartphones within three months to retain its credibility as a mainstream smartphone vendor.
The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 will appeal to business users, but their high-end nature mean they will be out of reach to the majority of consumers in emerging markets. This will leave BlackBerry competing with Samsung and Apple for the premium segment, Saadi said, which may limit its growth potential.
Ovum principal analyst Adam Leach said the BlackBerry 10 platform succeeds in creating a differentiated user experience. “The Blackberry Z10 and Q10 will stand out from the Android masses and look distinct from Apple’s iPhone,” he said.
While the handsets will be attractive to existing users, Leach said the challenge will be to attract new users and those who have previously jumped ship to a competing platform.
“Ovum believes that despite a well-designed Blackberry 10 platform - that will certainly attract short-term interest from existing users - the company will struggle to appeal to a wider audience, and in the long-term will become a niche player in the smartphone market,” Leach said.