New name, new phones and Alicia Keys: BlackBerry makes big enterprise play at BB10 launch
After two delays to the mobile operating system, the Canadian handset maker finally launched BlackBerry 10 at a press conference in New York today.
In an event which touched on everything from the company's new name, new phones and how these could help businesses with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, RIM promoted the new OS as ‘redesigned, reengineered, reinvented’ as well as something which will power ‘one device for work and play’.
RIM renames to BlackBerry
After a short introduction to the event, CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage and was quickly detailing how his short tenure in charge at the company has not been without difficulties.
“It’s been almost a year since I was handed the reins, and it’s easily been the most challenging year of my career," said Heins. “The opportunity I saw was BB10 and now, finally, here we are.”
“But saying that we reinvented the company is simply not enough. It’s a new day in the history of BlackBerry. Two years ago we had to make the serious decision to adopt a new platform or build a new platform from the ground up. We made the tough call to go it alone.”
Then came a slight twist in proceedings, with Heins confirming that Research in Motion will immediately change its name to BlackBerry.
“From this point forward RIM becomes BlackBerry,” said the RIM CEO. “It is one brand, one promise. Our customers use BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry and our shareholders own BlackBerrys. From today, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world.”
Heins thinks new phones cure the BYOD dilemma
The company then took the wraps off the new Z10 and Q10 BlackBerry 10 phones, with the former boasting a 4.2-inch touchscreen and the latter giving the physical QWERTY keyboard still desired by most BlackBerry users.
The rumored BB10 tablet proved to be illusive although RIM executives did talk up how BB10 devices will be able to offer “true multitasking”, with Heins also noting how the new OS could help BlackBerry re-emerge as a favorite with chief information officers (CIOs).
“We see people running around with two devices, one for corporate and one for personal, and that is a problem we aspire to solve. We call that Balance," said Heins.
Demos went on to show how BlackBerry Balance can be used to split personal and business applications, with one feature even showing only which apps are available to you when you are in the workplace.
That wasn’t the only business feature promoted by BlackBerry with the firm also showcasing BB10’s ability to share screenshots with other BB10 users (BlackBerry Screenshare), make video calls and remember important documents or photos (BlackBerry Remember).
Business apps were on the menu too with BlackBerry announcing 70,000 apps on BlackBerry World, including the likes of Skype, SAP, Cisco Web Ex and Box, and RIM’s Alec Saunders stressed during the show that the firm has seen a “huge groundswell” in developer interest in the platform.
The company rounded off the show by springing a surprise, this time by asking Alicia Keys on stage. The singer songwriter has been named as Global Creative Director at the company and says that she’ll be working with the app developers going forward.