Research In Motion (RIM) has launched its eagerly awaited BlackBerry 10 device and operating system at glamorous launches around the world, but eclipsed the announcement by revealing RIM no longer exists and will now be known simply as BlackBerry.
The launch, also streamed live on RIM’s website, began with testimonials by high-profile businessmen and women who have had a chance to trial the new software and devices.
Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive of RIM, said: “Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry.
“Our customers use the BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world.”
As predicted, two smartphones were launched. The touchscreen Z10 and Q10 with a wholly physical keyboard, powered by the platform BlackBerry10.
Heins said: “We have definitely been on a journey of transformation.
“It has been the most exhilarating and most rewarding one. I remember people asking me how I felt about taking over the role of CEO. I know that innovation is at the heart of RIM.”
He said BB10 was for people who want to multi-task, “get things done” and move quickly. He said: “BlackBerry 10 will get people moving.”
“We knew that a large display was important because it was the gateway into the BlackBerry experience. Actually what we did was produce a cinematic experience.”
Prior to Heins’ presentation, Vice President of Developer Relations at RIM, Alec Saunders, said: “The journey has been phenomenal. We have literally been to every continent on the planet, except Antartica, there aren’t any developers there.
“We have seen all kind of developers we haven’t seen before. In Latin America we saw a 12-year-old get up and pitch to us.”
He added they have seen a huge “groundswell” for BB10 from developers and said he was “totally stoked”. “We have put together, bar none, the largest catalogue of mobile applications.”
The launch of the new operating system has also made Apple’s iOS the oldest operating system on the mobile market.
The new environment, BlackBerry Hub, will combine the user interface for social media, email, Internet browsing and applications.
The Hub is billed as “real time, multi-tasking” with a “gorgeous” display and “so easy to use”. It also contains BlackBerry Peek which allows users to swipe away unwanted notifications. Heins said you were able to “naturally flow to what is coming in to you” via the smooth touch screen”.
He added: “It delivers the content that is really meaningful. That is a really strong concept.”
In a bizarre twist, BlackBerry “mega fan” Kevin was paraded in front of the New York audience because he had promised to not cut his hair until BB10 was launched. An on-stage cutting was then carried out.