BlackBerry has confirmed the launch of two new handsets running its new BB10 operating system.
The two much-rumoured devices will be the first to run the company’s new operating system, and will be accompanied by the firm officially changing its name from Research in Motion to BlackBerry.
The Z10 is a touchscreen device, while the Q10 retains the famous keyboard that has built much of BlackBerry’s growth. At the heart of both of the devices is a new operating system, called BlackBerry 10, that combines a work persona with a personal mobile into a single device. The idea is that while a single interface allows users to see, say, your work and your home calendar, in fact the two separate things are completely segregated. If you select work, the photos you take with the BB10 camera are stored in a different place to those you take with it in personal mode. As one BlackBerry executive put it, “If you get fired, you don’t want the boss to delete all the photos you took of your kids”.
BB10 also combines all emails, social networks,messages and other communications into a single inbox. The idea is that ‘BlackBerry people are those who want to simply get stuff done’, the company says. With a systematic called ‘Peek and flow’ users are always able to see Allen their messages with a single swipe of the thumb, the company claims.
In the eyes of analysts, au “will appeal to the faithful”. As Ben Wood from CCS Insight says, however,, “:Hry :’yyy remain”. Wood says BlackBerry must “swiftly sharpen” what it offers.
Mobile networks and retailers are nonetheless excited by what BlackBerry offers: it provides a third challenger to Google’s Android, increasingly dominated by Samsung, and to Apple. While Microsoft has tried to take that third place slot, there’s a real need for a brand to break the duopoly, retailers claim.
Jan Dawson of Ovum was pessimistic about BlackBerry’s long-term chances, claiming the devices and the operating system would not stem long-term decline. Although RIM is debt-free and has a large cash pile, Dawson said that is needed to show more innovation to keep up in the developing world or to regain its place in Western Europe and America.
“Longer term, RIM will return to its recent patterns of decline,” he said. “At its peak, RIM shipped between 12 and 15 million devices per quarter, but there is no way it can hit this number on a sustainable basis once the BB10 launch filters through. Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don’t expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms. There is little in the new platform that suggests it will have the compelling apps, content stores, or the broader ecosystem that consumers have come to expect in a competitive smartphone platform. The current popularity of BlackBerry in emerging markets is likely to be short-lived, especially as Android based alternatives begin to flood the market at even lower prices.”
The Z10 will launch in the UK tomorrow and in America this quarter. It will retail for around £50 on a £35 per month contract.