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BlackBerry Maker Unveils New Phones, New Corporate Name

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
January 30, 2013

It’s no secret that Research In Motion is in trouble. The tablet device it released in 2011 did so poorly the company took a $485 million hit. Android phones and Apple’s iPhone have left the company in the technology graveyard.

Today, they announced a new product line — two new phones, the Z-10 and Q10 and a new operating system — they hope will bring the company back to life. While they were at it, they also announced that they would no longer be called Research In Motion; the company will simply be called BlackBerry.

The technology site The Verge seems impressed with the new offerings. They write:

“The company is coming back into the game with force, that much is clear. Its new touchscreen smartphone is the serious contender BlackBerry has been claiming it would be, packing in the specs, software prowess, and services to take on even the most entrenched players in the game. This isn’t a feint or a half-step, it’s a long bomb with all the blood, sweat, and tears behind it you would expect from a company that’s lost a significant piece of its value (to say nothing of its market power) over the last handful of years. But there are those entrenched players, and consumers as well as enterprise customers have proved fickle in the face of changing technology. The fans have gone or are going — can the Z10 win them back?”

Walt Mossberg, The Wall Street Journal’s technology writer, says that the new operating system is not just an evolution of BlackBerry’s previous software, “it is a clean break.”

“Its user interface is so different that it will seem foreign to longtime BlackBerry users,” Mossberg writes. “And the first phone to use it, the Z10, looks much more like its rivals than like traditional BlackBerrys.”

CNN Money reports that one of the features of this phone is the ability to toggle from work to play, something the company calls “Balance.”

“Balance is clearly a bid to make corporate folks happy,” CNN Money writes. “A major part of BlackBerry’s decline comes from its losses in the enterprise market. Companies have been increasingly willing to let employees work on phones they choose — a phenomenon known as Bring Your Own Device — and they’re overwhelmingly selecting hardware from rivals.”

In its review, CNet says that Blackberry’s hard work has “paid off.”

So, from the reviews out there, it seems BlackBerry has finally hit its stride. The question now is whether is it’s too little, too late. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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