RIM unveiled BlackBerry 10 and two new BlackBerry devices at an event Wednesday morning that included an appearance by singer Alicia Keys, who is now—bizarrely enough—RIM’s new creative director. Did you hear that record scratch? Yeah, me too.
Oh, and another thing: they’re not RIM anymore. Now they’re BlackBerry.
CEO Thorsten Heins explained: “Our customers use BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world.”
The company will henceforth be trading under the ticker symbol BBRY.
BlackBerry 10 has been a long time coming—and it’s critical to the company’s survival. The one-time king of the smartphone world has fallen rapidly behind as Google and Apple have taken over the market. Google and Apple alone now account for nearly 89% of the smartphone market, while RIM accounts for 7%. Its case hasn’t been helped by several recent outages that have left millions without service around the world. Times really got tough last year when RIM had to stall on the BlackBerry 10 release. The company’s market cap has fallen 89% since 2008.
So will the newly unveiled BlackBerry 10 cement BlackBerry’s spot in the smartphone market again?
At the New York event Wednesday morning, the company demoed the new OS, showing off features like the Hub, which lets you check email, text messages, Facebook messages, and more without having to open a separate app. Another cool feature is the BlackBerry Balance, which speaks directly to the BYOD movement, as it lets users create separate areas for work and personal content.
The company also revealed two new devices: the Z10 and the Q10. The Z10 is a touchscreen phone with a 4.2-inch display and 350 pixels per inch. The Q10 comes with a physical keyboard. The bad news: the new devices won’t hit U.S. stores until March.
BlackBerry 10 launches with some 70,000 apps, which is lightyears behind Apple, which has 775,000 apps in its App Store, and Google Play, which is rumored to have more than 775,000 apps. More importantly, BlackBerry 10 is missing a few key players—namely Instagram, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Pandora, and YouTube. It has most of the biggies: Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, Kindle, Twitter, Foursquare, Angry Birds, The Wall Street Journal, and Songza, among others.
Earlier this month, RIM announced that it is renaming its app store BlackBerry World.
RIM shares were down 6% Wednesday afternoon to $14.76.
Image source: AllThingsD