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RIM Launches BB10, Rebrands Itself As BlackBerry

RIM Launches BB10, Rebrands Itself As BlackBerry
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1/30/2013 1:42 PM ET

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) Wednesday unveiled its much anticipated operating system BlackBerry 10, the platform touted as savior of the struggling smartphone maker. The company also launched the first two phones running on the latest OS. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company also renamed itself and will be known by its flagship product BlackBerry immediate effect.

BlackBerry launched two new LTE-enabled smartphones, named Z10, an all touch phone, and Q10, which has the classical BlackBerry keyboard. The launch of the two smartphones took place at series of events held at same time in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, and Johannesburg.

BlackBerry plans to ship the Z10 first, with Q10 to follow in April. Z10 will be available on January 31 in the UK, on February 5 in Canada, on February 10 in UAE and will reach the US in March.

BlackBerry expects BlackBerry 10 (BB10) to help it regain the dominant position it once enjoyed in the smartphone industry, which it has now lost to Apple's iPhones and devices running on Google Inc's (GOOG) Android platform. The company anticipates BB10 to boost revenues and swing it back to the profitability it once enjoyed at its prime.

The smartphone market is controlled by the duopoly of Apple's iOS and Android OS, which represent almost 90 percent of the total. At the end of last quarter, BlackBerry's subscriber base had dropped to 79 million subscribers from about 80 million three-months earlier. During the last quarter, BlackBerry shipped about 6.9 million of its aging smartphones.

Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said, "Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience. We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving."

BB10 was initially planned for release in early 2012, however due to some problems the launch was postponed to late 2012. It was then again pushed to early 2013.

Blackberry is marketing its new devices aggressively, however, assuming that BlackBerry users will remain faithful to the platform, luring iOS and Android users could be a tough task for the company.

Meanwhile, the company also changed its name to BlackBerry as part of its marketing strategy for its new phones and platform. BlackBerry will begin trading under the new ticker BBRY on the Nasdaq and BB on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The changes to the company's ticker symbols will be effective at the start of trading on Monday, February 4, 2013.

"This change from Research In Motion to BlackBerry comes at a defining moment in our company's history," said Heins. "As we launch BlackBerry 10 around the world, now is the right time to adopt the iconic BlackBerry name.

RIMM is currently trading at $14.54, down $1.12 or 7.15%, on the Nasdaq. On the Toronto Stock Exchange, RIM is trading at C$14.83, down C$0.88 or 5.60%.

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by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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