BlackBerry launches long-awaited comeback campaign
BY ROB GILLIES & PETER SVENSSON Associated Press
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 5:43 AM
NEW YORK - A new generation of more versatile BlackBerry smartphones is finally about to hit the market after excruciating delays allowed mobile devices made by Apple, Samsung and others to build commanding leads in a market that is redefining society.
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. formally unveiled its long-awaited line-up of revamped smartphones and software Wednesday at simultaneous events held in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Delhi.
In a move underscoring the stakes riding on its make-or-break product line-up, the Canadian company used the occasion to announce it is changing its name to BlackBerry - a pioneering brand that has lost its cachet since Apple's 2007 release of the iPhone reset expectations for what a smartphone should do.
The first devices in the new crop of BlackBerrys will be called the Q10, which will feature a physical keyboard like previous versions of the phone, and the Z10 will have a touch-screen keyboard, like Apple Inc.'s trend-setting iPhone and other handsets running on Google Inc.'s Android software, including Samsung's popular Galaxy. They will run on a redesigned operating system called BlackBerry 10, which the company began working on after buying QNX Software Systems in 2010.
The new software and BlackBerrys were supposed to be released a year ago, only to be delayed while Apple and Android device makers won more zealous converts to their products. In the meantime, Microsoft Corp. also rolled out a new Windows operating system for smartphones, confronting RIM with another technology powerhouse to battle.
The delays in developing the new BlackBerrys helped wipe out $70 billion in shareholder wealth and 5,000 jobs.
"It is the most challenging year of my career," said RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, whose anniversary leading the company occurred last week. "It is also the most exhilarating and exciting one."
The Z10 won't be released in the U.S. until March and the Q10 might not arrive in the country until April, Heins said, to give wireless carriers more time to test the product. All the major U.S. carriers plan to sell the new BlackBerrys. The estimated U.S. prices for the phones weren't announced, though.
The Z10 will go on sale Thursday in United Kingdom. The same model will be released in Canada on Feb. 5.
Repeated delays and years of blundering have turned the once-iconic BlackBerry into an also-ran as the iPhone and Android devices raced ahead.
Yet there was renewed optimism heading into Wednesday's event. Previews of the BlackBerry 10 software have gotten favorable reviews on blogs. Financial analysts are starting to see some room for a comeback.
Original Print Headline: RIM unveils new BlackBerry phone
RIM stock falls after new BlackBerry debut
NEW YORK (AP) - The long-awaited debut of new BlackBerry smartphones flopped on Wall Street.
The stock of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. started to sink Wednesday afternoon soon after company CEO Thorsten Heins began to show off the redesigned smartphones, the Z10 and Q10. The downturn didn't reverse, even with the publication of mostly positive reviews of the new models.
The company introduced the new devices along with a revamped operating system called BlackBerry 10 that emphasizes touch-screen controls, a concept popularized by Apple Inc.'s trend-setting iPhone and various devices running Google Inc.'s Android software.
RIM's stock dropped $1.88, or 12 percent, to $13.78 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The shares have still doubled from a nine-year low of $6.22 in September. Even so, they remain well below their peak of $147 reached in 2008 when the iPhone was still considered to be more of a curiosity than a revolutionary mobile computing tool.
Vivek Bhardwaj (center), head of software for BlackBerry, and Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, which is changing its name to BlackBerry, introduce the video share capability of the Blackberry 10 on Wednesday in New York. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone, the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company. MARK LENNIHAN / Associated Press