BlackBerry Unveils Name Change and Two Hand Sets


Everyone knew that Research in Motion was the only company other than maybe Siemens which is awkwardly named, and now we can cross RIM out of that because they have decided tp finally call themselves BlackBerry.BlackBerry

This is also a relief because now every time i mention RIM, I don’t have to say the company that makes BlackBerry smartphones.

In an event on Wednesday in New York to unveil a line of new smartphones and new software to operate them, Thorsten Heins, the company’s chief executive, synchronized the names as BlackBerry. But because the new name is now tied to the company’s hopes of restoring its main product’s status as a symbol of executive cool, the change carries some risk.

Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer of BlackBerry, said that Research in Motion had become more confusing than inspired. I wonder why this didn’t occur to them before, but never the less, sooner than later, it has. “We thought this was time to symbolize a real change with a name change,” Mr. Boulben said. “We wanted to have one brand, one premise, to focus all of our marketing efforts.”

Those efforts will reach new heights on Sunday, when BlackBerry will run an ad during the Super Bowl promoting the BlackBerry Z10, a touch-screen phone, and the BlackBerry Q10, a phone that combines a traditional BlackBerry physical keyboard with a smaller touch screen.

The new name was the biggest surprise in Mr. Heins’s presentation. The company began demonstrating the touch-screen phone and operating system in May and also made prototypes available to app developers at that time.

31blackberry-web2-articleLargeBut Mr. Heins kept the focus on the phones. “Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry,” he said. “These BlackBerry 10 devices are absolutely the best typing experiences in the industry.”

Analysts, technology reviewers and app developers with advance access to the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry 10 operating system liked the Z10, calling it the company’s first competitive touch-screen phone.

But the BlackBerry 10 arrives long after Apple’s iPhone and phones using Google’s Android operating system have come to dominate the smartphone market, so its success is anything but assured. According to IDC, BlackBerry now holds just 4.6 percent of that market, about one-tenth of its peak market share.

Analysts are concerned about how long it will take for the phones to go on sale in the United States. BlackBerry said the Z10 would be available in Canada on Feb. 5 and in the United States in March. Verizon Wireless announced that it would sell the Z10 for $200 with a two-year contract. BlackBerry 10 phones will also be carried by AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, but those companies said they would announce prices later.

Mr. Heins, who took over as chief executive a year ago, said the company would release the keyboard model, the Q10, in April. “I think the longer the time between announcement and availability these days, the worse it is,” said Jan Dawson, an analyst with Ovum. “It’s especially sad that it’ll likely be a month from that big Super Bowl spend to when it launches.”

Physically, the Z10 resembles an iPhone 5 with its corners snipped off. Unlike its competitors, the Z10 lacks a button to take users back to a home page and relies entirely on users swiping their fingers across the 4.2-inch screen from different directions to summon features or menus.

While the Z10 lacks a physical keyboard, the main attraction of BlackBerrys for many current users, the company said it had developed software that should alleviate some of the inadequacies of on-screen typing. For instance, it will offer word suggestions that can be selected with a flick of a finger.

The company said on Wednesday that more than 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps were now available.

BlackBerry joins a long list of companies that have changed their names in an effort to convey a new beginning. Some of the changes, like Apple’s decision to drop “Computer” from its name in 2007, have been subtle.

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