BlackBerry 10 to be unveiled this week
BY ROB GILLIES Associated Press
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
1/29/13 at 6:49 AM
TORONTO - The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedier device, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone. It's the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company.
Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research In Motion Ltd., will show off the first phone with the new BlackBerry 10 system in New York on Wednesday. A marketing campaign that includes a Super Bowl ad will accompany the long-anticipated debut. Repeated delays have left the once-pioneering BlackBerry an afterthought in the shadow of Apple's trend-setting iPhone and Google's Android-driven devices.
Now, there's some optimism. Previews of the software have gotten favorable reviews on blogs. Financial analysts are starting to see some slight room for a comeback. RIM's stock has nearly tripled to $16.18 from a nine-year low in September, though it's still nearly 90 percent below its 2008 peak of $147.
Most analysts consider a BlackBerry 10 success to be crucial for the company's long-term viability.
RIM promised a new system to catch up, using technology it got through its 2010 purchase of QNX Software Systems. RIM initially said BlackBerry 10 would come by early 2012, but then the company changed that to late 2012. A few months later, that date was pushed further, to early 2013, missing the lucrative holiday season. The holdup helped wipe out more than $70 billion in shareholder wealth and 5,000 jobs.
Heins will finally showcase a complete system at Wednesday's event. Devices will go on sale soon after that. Prices have not yet been announced.
The new operating system promises better multitasking than either the iPhone or Android. Simply swipe a finger across the phone's display screen to switch to another program.
All emails and notifications from such applications as Twitter and Facebook go to the BlackBerry Hub, a nerve center accessible with a finger swipe even if you have another application open. One can peek into it and open an email, or return to the previous application without opening the email.
The BlackBerry's touch-screen keyboard promises to learn a user's writing style and suggest words and phrases to complete, going beyond typo corrections offered by rivals. The first BlackBerry 10 phone will have only a touch screen. RIM has said it will release a version with a physical keyboard soon after that. That's an area RIM has excelled at, and it's one reason many BlackBerry users have remained loyal despite temptations to switch.
Another distinguishing feature will be the BlackBerry Balance, which allows two personas on the same device. Businesses can keep their data secure without forcing employees to get a second device for personal use.
For instance, IT managers can prevent personal apps from running inside corporate firewalls, but those managers won't have access to personal data on the device.
Original Print Headline: Long-awaited BlackBerry 10 to be unveiled