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Blackberry goes all-out with BB10

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With a completely new platform, the firm is determined to regain its leading position in the smartphone market

Dubai – After a long–awaited comeback, Research in Motion (RIM, now rebranded as Blackberry), unveiled the Blackberry 10 in a global event held simultaneously in New York, Toronto, Johannesburg, Dubai, Paris, London, Jakarta and Delhi.

President and CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage in New York announcing the official launch of the firm’s new platform, Blackberry 10, and the two new smartphones, Blackberry Z10 (touchscreen) and Blackberry Q10 (touch with the firm’s trademark QWERTY keyboard).

“Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience,” said Heins. “We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving.”

Heins proceeded to give a comprehensive demonstration of BB 10’s new features, which include BB Hub, a one-stop notification centre a swipe away from any screen, featuring feeds, calendar events, conversations, emails, messenger and social media updates.

The camera’s new Time Shift mode enables the capture of multiple shots with a single click, which the user can scroll through to pick the perfect snapshot. The Z10’s virtual keyboard suggests words while typing and with an upwards swipe the word is placed in the text field, which makes the typing experience much faster.

Another key feature is Blackberry Balance, which allows for the separation between personal and work use, with the option to firewall each area of the device. Blackberry Flow enables the user to navigate through running applications seamlessly through a minimised screen with no need to return to a home screen to flip through them. Users can download and purchase apps via the company’s new web store, Blackberry World, which features “over 70,000 applications”.

“We’ve worked extremely hard for the past two years. We built a new platform, which we developed from the ground up. We’ve got application partners who’ve developed specifically for our platform. We have a great opportunity ahead of us and I believe the market is extremely active. People are looking for something new in terms of capability and functionality and today we’re delivering on that,” Blackberry’s North Africa regional director, Ben Quirin, told the Daily News Egypt.

“Our finances are still very healthy. We have $2.9bn in banks, our subscriber base is still healthy, people are still using Blackberry and they’re still utilising our platform. With the introduction of Blackberry 10 we’re actually introducing a brand new proposition for our consumers,” said Quirin when asked about Blackberry’s expectations for regaining its market share after posting a 47% drop in sales in Q3 of 2012.

“The opportunity is there for us to continue growing and gaining market share. We’ve got an open platform now, so people are more inclined to develop and create content for our platform, which is essentially what consumers are looking for. We’re definitely going to see a strong turnaround especially since the market itself is growing,” Quirin added.

Blackberry hired singer-songwriter Alicia Keys as the company’s new global creative director. In her new role, Keys will “work closely with app developers, content creators, retailers, carriers and the entertainment community to further shape and enhance the BlackBerry 10 platform, and to inspire creative use through its remarkable capabilities and functionality”.

“Alicia Keys has come to BlackBerry because she believes in the product and technology, and subscribes to our overriding philosophy to ‘Keep Moving’: to empower people through mobile computing and communications,” said Heins. “We are excited she will be bringing us her enormous capabilities, as well as a vast network of relationships in the entertainment, social media and business communities, to help shape our brand and grow our business.”

Blackberry has managed to impress fans as well as market analysts with the introduction of BB10. However, with competition running strong from Apple and Samsung, it remains unclear whether Blackberry will be able to regain its leading status.

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