Blackberry 10 was officially launched at an event in New York City on Wednesday. Along with the official debut of the mobile operating system, the company behind it also made some huge announcements about its future.
Curious what all the hype is about? Here’s a quick look back at the event, what the company announced, and what we can expect in the future.
Don’t Call Us RIM
RIM officially changed its name on Wednesday to BlackBerry. To go along with the new name the company will update its ticker symbol from RIMM to BBRY, and it introduced a new tagline: “One brand, one promise.” The company will be showcasing the new name in its first Super Bowl ad ever this coming weekend.
Not Your Father’s BlackBerry
BlackBerry 10 represents a complete overhaul of the BlackBerry operating system. The operating system focuses around the BlackBerry Hub, a universal inbox of sorts that includes your email, text messages, and notifications. Calendar information is also available within the Hub. A smart calendar of sorts, BlackBerry 10 pulls contact information for guests in meetings into calendar entries. You can access the Hub from any screen you’re on using a simple gesture.
The camera app is one place where BB10 is going to stand out against the competition. A Time Shift feature allows you to scroll back in time on a particular part of a photo, adjusting it slightly. For instance, if a friend is blinking in a group shot, you can scroll back in time on just that friend’s face in the shot and change their expression to the moment before their eyes closed. A new feature called Story Maker lets you stitch together photos, videos and tunes together into a “story” you can share with friends.
The virtual keyboard in BlackBerry 10 is also something that saw a significant upgrade. The keyboard has a predictive test mechanism built into it that attempts to anticipate what you’re trying to type. Words appear above the keys on the keyboard, and swiping a key will input the word above it.
A feature called BlackBerry Balance allows you to use the same device for personal and work functions, giving your employer control over the work side of things.
BlackBerry Messenger, the company’s private messaging service, also added video chattingfunctionality on Wednesday.
There are currently two smartphones running BlackBerry 10: The Z10 and Q10. The Z10 is an all-touch handset with a similar look to the iPhone 5, while the Q10 has a traditional BlackBerry look with a physical keyboard.
All four major carriers in the United States have committed to carrying one or both of the handsets, however, no carrier has specified when. At the BlackBerry 10 launch event, Heins said he expected the Z10 to be available in March of this year in the U.S. and the Q10 to be available in April, as long as carrier testing goes according to plan.
Verizon announced pricing for the Z10 on its network: $199 with a new two-year contract. No other carrier announced pricing of any kind.
Apps Are on the Way
During its press conference, the company announced that it has over 70,000 apps already available for BlackBerry 10. Applications available today include big names such as Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and LinkedIn.
In addition to the apps available in the store today, BlackBerry also announced that Skype has committed to creating an application for the platform.
At the end of the press conference, CEO Thorsten Heins announced that the company has appointed singer/songwriter Alicia Keys as its new Global Creative Director. Keys, who has previously spoken the praises of the iPhone, said she was happy to be back in an “exclusive relationship” with BlackBerry.
Keys says she is going to be working directly with developers and carriers on the platform, as well as with other artists.