The headline should not be taken as a mistake. This morning in London, Research in Motion officially launched its long-awaited and twice-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system as well as the first hardware running the operating system in the Z10 slate device and the Q10 with the familiar BlackBerry keyboard design. As the event was held to showcase RIM’s re-entry into the smartphone market, the company has also rebranded itself to reflect its new direction going forward.
As of today and going forward with all marketing materials and associated branding, RIM will no longer be featured as a brand. Instead, the company has rebranded itself simply as BlackBerry to denote the company and its devices. To that end, the company is continuing the recent trend of hiring celebrities to head creative positions within larger conglomerates by hiring singer Alicia Keys as its new Creative Director, though BlackBerry has not commented on exactly what she will handle in her new appointment.
Now on to the phones, starting with the Z10. The Z10 is a complete departure from the past of BlackBerry’s previous hardware design framework with more of an industrial, focused design. In terms of specifications, the Z10 features a 4.2-inch capacitive touch display at 1280×768 resolution with a pixel density of 356 PPI, a dual-core TI OMAP 4470 1.5GHz processor with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. It also features a microSD expansion slot, a micro-HDMI port, NFC capabilities, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Following the Z10 is an update to the BlackBerry Bold design with the BlackBerry Q10. Taking the best from the BlackBerry Bold 9900 series while making slight changes for the new operating system, the Q10 features a smaller 3.1 inch touch display with an unconventional 720×720 resolution and QWERTY keyboard. More specific details on the Q10 will be available closer to its April launch.
As the software is concerned, BlackBerry 10 features the following features:
- BlackBerry® Flow allows seamless navigation across open applications and the BlackBerry® Hub. All messages, notifications, feeds, and calendar events come into the BlackBerry Hub and with a simple gesture, users can peek into the Hub at any time.
- BBM™ Video with Screen Share.Switch from a BBM™ chat to a BBM™ video conversation on the fly, to catch up face-to-face and share what’s on your screen. The screen sharing and video chat feature are integrated at the operating system level as part of BlackBerry Messenger
- BlackBerry Balance keeps personal apps and information separate from work data, and the customer can switch from their personal to work profile with a simple gesture. The work profile is fully encrypted and secure, enabling organizations to protect their content and applications.
- BlackBerry Hub is the new management center for BlackBerry 10. Designed to be the starting point for all functionality within the device, the Hub allows for multi-tasking and access to information across applications without needing to exit the Hub itself.
- BlackBerry Story Maker is a new photo and video editor integrated into the operating system similar to iMovie in execution that allows stitching together still images and video taken on the device and allowing for a soundtrack to be included
- BlackBerry Remember is a new app that stores information taken from multiple sources on the device and keeps it there for future reference, essentially acting as a first-party Evernote application and does include Evernote integration
All four major carriers will announce their plans for BB10 devices later today at varying price points, with Verizon already starting the announcement swing, announcing the Z10 for $199.99 after a new 2 year agreement and launching in April. More information on the other carrier variants is expected later today.