All the way back in January of last year, images of a rumored BlackBerry 10 device called the London leaked. Through the rest of the year, we covered RIM’s very slow advance to BlackBerry 10, which the company hopes will salvage its status as a business smartphone behemoth. Just a few weeks ago, promotional images and a rumored ship date for a BlackBerry 10 device much like the London were leaked, and suggested an announcement in the near future. At today’s BlackBerry 10 event, RIM finally unveiled the not-so-mysterious device, along with BlackBerry 10 OS, a portrait keyboard smartphone, and a branding change.
Let’s begin with the simple. Research in Motion is no more; the company will now be known as simply BlackBerry. The simple change is intended to unify the idea of, “One brand. One promise.” Accordingly, “[o]ur customers use a BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry.” As company CEO Thorsten Heins said, “We have reinvented the company, and we want to represent this in our brand.”
The new BlackBerry corporation also announced two devices, the first of which we have seen before. Officially called the BlackBerry z10, the device which you see above is extremely similar to the London and promotional images we have already seen. The Z10 is a standard and fairly generic glass slab design, and also the first touchscreen based BlackBerry 10 bar style smartphone. As a result, the Z10 looks very classy and simple, but doesn’t have any distinct style.
Powering the device is a dual-core 1.5GHz processor of unknown origins, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. The 4.2-inch display isn’t massive, but sports a 1280 x 768 resolution with an impressive 356ppi pixel density. The rear 8MP camera captures 1080p video, and the front camera does 720p. A removable battery cover and microSD slot should be welcome news for many users, and set the Z10 apart from the iPhone and some flagship Android devices.
We don’t yet know as much about the second device, called the BlackBerry Q10. It maintains the traditional BlackBerry form factor, but adds a 3.1-inch 720 x 720 touchscreen display above the keyboard as well as the new BlackBerry 10 OS. The hardware is supposed to include a unique “glass weave” back cover and be “thinner, lighter, and stronger than plastic.” Otherwise, we don’t know much about the specifications, but it would be logical to think that the hardware will be similar to that of the Z10.
The Q10 should be released around April, while the Z10 will be headed to Verizon in black and white, and T-Mobile in black, for the price of $199 on contract. Other carriers have yet to announce availability, and Verizon and T-Mobile have not announced release dates.
While the hardware of the Z10 isn’t extremely impressive, what really matters is how well BlackBerry 10 runs on the device. We have yet to see much of BlackBerry 10, but I’m quite interested to see if the new OS and devices can help get
RIM BlackBerry out of their bind. Watch for more details about these new devices and BlackBerry 10 in the coming weeks, as well as a review of the Z10 and BlackBerry 10 OS.