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Our initial glimpse at RIM's (er, make that BlackBerry's) attempt to claw its way back into the smartphone market
BlackBerry 10 – by BlackBerry, not RIM!
The company formerly known as RIM has renamed itself BlackBerry after its best-known product, as part of a wholesale reinvention prompted by its disastrous slide toward irrelevance in the smartphone market it helped to create. It’s also released the widely-anticipated BlackBerry 10 OS, along with new hardware and a new app store.
The new operating system needed a brand-new hardware platform, and the Z10 is a modern smartphone designed to go toe-to-toe with Android heavy hitters and the iPhone. It's powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and packs 2GB of RAM, though fuller technical details weren't immediately available.
Even though BlackBerry desperately needed an update, there's no sense doing away with the famously well-regarded physical keyboard -- so the company also provided the Q10.
The new interface
BlackBerry 10 is a floor-to-ceiling revamp of the platform, and one of the most noticeable changes is the new attention being paid to usability, with lots of thumb-based gesture controls and simple shortcuts.
BlackBerry says the 70,000 apps that will be available at launch are the most of any new smartphone platform. While it's still well behind leaders Android and iOS, BlackBerry's already halfway to catching smaller fry Windows Phone 8.
Business and pleasure
One of several handy new features for business users is a dual-profile system, which allows apps and content to be divided into personal and corporate bins.
The new version of BBM provides both video chat and a screen sharing feature -- demonstrated on stage at the launch event by two executives sharing photographs to each other's devices.
Along with several other built-in features for on-the-fly image editing, the Time Shift feature recognizes faces and takes several pictures at once. The effect is that users can "shift time" backwards slightly to ensure they get a snapshot where nobody is blinking or sneezing.
Oh, and Alicia Keys was there, too
Celebrity actor and musician Alicia Keys was named BlackBerry's new global creative director at the event. Keys had been a BlackBerry user in the past, and has apparently been won back to the platform after a dalliance with other smartphones.