Research In Motion (RIM) was, for the longest time, the only name in the world of smartphones. Then along came Apple and Google, and soon RIM's once bright future with its BlackBerrys started to dim as sales fell. Last year, its co-CEOs stepped down and Thorstein Heins took over control of the company. Its newest OS had been teased for a while, as well as a new, all-touch phone that was capable of putting RIM back on track in the smartphone world. Earlier today, RIM held its BlackBerry 10 event to showcase the new phone and new OS, but that was only part of the event. You see, RIM has announced its new name is simply BlackBerry, with a tagline of "One brand. One promise." Considering only BlackBerry devices are created by the company, a simpler name makes sense. Heins said everyone from customers to shareholders know the brand as BlackBerry, so why not have the company name reflect the brand?
A new company name is all well and good, but the bulk of the BlackBerry 10 event is for the showcase of not one but two new phones running the BB 10 OS. The first phone is that all-touchscreen one, the Z10. This slate device features a 4.2" screen with a 1280x768 resolution, a dual-core TI OMAP 4470 processor at 1.5GHz, and 2GB of RAM. Internal storage comes in at 16GB, but luckily there is a microSD slot for even more storage needs (up to 32GB). The Z10 has an 8-megapixel camera on the rear capable of 1080p video recording, while a 2-megapixel up front can only do 720p. BlackBerry has packed in a micro SIM slot, micro-USB, micro-HDMI, a 3.5mm headphone jack, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, and NFC capabilities into the Z10, which make it a pretty formidable phone. It comes in at 130mm x 66mm x 9.3mm, which is a little bulkier than some competing smartphones, but the 138 gram weight helps to make the Z10 easy to carry.
BlackBerry also introduced the Q10 phone, which packs a full QWERTY keyboard for those who don't want to go full touchscreen just yet. The Q10 features a 3.1" touchscreen with a 720x720 resolution, a dual-core processor at 1.5GHz, and 2GB of RAM. Below the touchscreen is
RIM's BlackBerry's familiar keyboard, so you get the best of both worlds with this phone.
BlackBerry 10 OS had been discussed before in the past, but today's event was a chance for the company to show off more of the features. It's BlackBerry's first all-touch OS that is heavily gesture-based (hopefully without too many complicated ones), and features many familiar apps and services. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare are all directly integrated into the OS, with Skype receiving tweaks to ensure flawless performance. BlackBerry also showed off BBM video calling and Screen Share, which shows a mirror of your phone's screen to whoever you're talking with.
If you're eager to try out BlackBerry 10 and either the Z10 or Q10, well, you may have to wait depending on where you live. UK residents receive BB10 tomorrow, Canada receives it on February 5, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) gets it on February 10. Residents in the US won't receive the new OS until the middle of March. Heins is blaming that on the US carriers needing time to test new devices, which may or may not be true. Both the Z10 and Q10 are available on every major carrier in the UK, with all Z10s being 4G-ready. Many UK carriers are offering the phone free on a per-month contract, though only EE's existing 4G service is able to be used right away. Canadian residents can pick up either phone on Telus, Rogers, Bell, Koodo, and Virgin Mobile, though prices weren't announced at this time.
US residents, on the other hand, can pick up the phones on the four major carriers, but only Verizon and AT&T are carrying both (right now). Sprint users get the Q10 while T-Mobile users get the Z10, but both of those could change in time since only those two were mentioned. The Q10 is expected about a month after the Z10 arrives in the US, so Sprint users have to sit tight a little longer. The Z10 will start at $149 on AT&T and Sprint, while Verizon users can shell out $199. Verizon also has the exclusive white color in the US, while Phones 4U in the UK has exclusive rights on both colors at first.