Research in Motion goes for a Hail Mary as it announces two new smartphones and rebrands itself as “BlackBerry”
Business-favorite phone company Research in Motion has unveilied their last-ditch effort to stay in the smartphone game. The company, which make the BlackBerry brand phone, has renamed itself “BlackBerry” after its flagship brand and revealed it’s two newest phones, the Z10 and the Q10, along with its new software, on Wednesday in New York City.
The success of the phones will determine whether the company stays in the game as a competitor on the smartphone field, or becomes a possible buy for larger companies like Apple or Google. BlackBerry is pulling out all the stops for these two phones, even going as far as to hire Alicia Keys as creative director to ramp up support outside of it’s normal businesses and government clientele.
While the phone mays not have been much of a surprise — the touch-screen phone and prototypes were openly discussed in May of 2012 — the name change was. Franck Boulben, chief marketing officer of BlackBerry, told the New York Times that the company wanted to symbolize real change by adjusting its name.
That change is manifested in the Z10, BlackBerry’s widely anticipated touch-screen phone, which will launch mid-March in the U.S. for $199, according to The Verge. The phone will be offered in black and white, though the white model is exclusive to Verizon. As for guts, the Z10 features a dual-core CPU, a 4.2-inch display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage (expandable to 48GB with a microSD card), a front-facing 2 megapixel camera, and a 8 megapixel rear-facing camera. Both cameras, notes The Verge, are capable of HD video (1080 for the rear camera, 720 for the front). Those residing in the U.K. will be able to get the Z10 on Thursday, January 31st.
The BlackBerry Q10, which is set to launch much later than the Z10, will feature a physical QWERTY keyboard — a favorite of many BlackBerry fans — and a touch-screen. Access to the Q10 was heavily restricted, so details on its internal features are scant.
But will a simple name-change and what some reporters consider to be BlackBerry’s most competitive phones in history be enough to save the company? It remains to be seen, but it may be too little too late for the Wall Street Journal, which reports that BlackBerry hasn’t been able to get the U.S. versions of the phones to U.S. carriers for testing until a few weeks ago. Testing from Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon typically takes six to eight weeks.