BlackBerry 10-based Q10 and Z10 smartphones unveiled
Research in Motion rebrands itself as BlackBerry
Here's what was expected
BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) is holding a special event in New York on Wednesday where the company will introduce a new operating system called BlackBerry 10. It is also expected to launch at least two handsets based on the new platform, codenamed BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry X10.
RIM burst on the scene with the BlackBerry in 2003. That was long before the iPhone and other competing technologies emerged to steal control of the market from RIM with their more consumer-friendly smartphones.
The company boomed as the maker of "crackberries," a nickname stemming from the addiction the phones engendered in users.
But now, unless the Blackberry 10 is a hit, RIM faces becoming a footnote in an increasingly competitive market led by Apple and rivals who use Google's Android operating system.
"The importance of this launch cannot be overstated," said Ramon Llamas, an analyst at the research firm IDC. "There's going to be a lot of work that needs to be done to earn back respect."
RIM touts the system as a big change in smartphone technology.
"This is an entirely new operating system," said company spokesman Nick Manning. "We think it's the first entirely new mobile operating system in about five years."
RIM says the system will break new ground by allowing customers to flip between applications seamlessly and without first passing through a home page, to boost efficiency and multitasking.
Another key asset of BlackBerry 10 is what RIM dubbed the "BlackBerry balance," a system that allows users to separate professional communications and applications from music, photographs and other personal items.
Such an option means that if a user changes job, his or her former company can disable the device's corporate side without affecting personal data.
With agency inputs
BlackBerry 10 Launch: In pictures