The six-city launch of the new BlackBerry 10 phones and operating system is now complete. One of the biggest shockers from the event: Research in Motion is scrapping its name, and will now be known simply as BlackBerry. Other developments:
- CEO Thorsten Heins underscored the "heartfelt and brutal honesty" BlackBerry had to go through to get to this day, reports Forbes. It's been a long haul for the phone, which is debuting nearly a year late.
- Heins showcased two phones: the Z10, which has a full 4.2-inch touchscreen, and the Q10, which has a traditional keyboard set below a smaller touchscreen. Heins said the Q10 was created for customers "that said we just have to have a physical keyboarding experience," reports USA Today.
- The company also added some star power, announcing that Alicia Keys would be its new Global Creative director, a position created for her, the Verge reports. The company also boasted that Neil Gaiman and Robert Rodriguez will be using the phone for a film and art/storytelling project.
- On to the features. First up was BlackBerry Hub, the central interface for the Z10. It has a tiled layout not unlike Microsoft's latest Windows iteration. BlackBerry software honcho Vivek Bhardwaj also showed off BlackBerry Peek, the phone's notification system, which allows users to check emails and calendars without leaving the app they're using.
- Bhardwaj also discussed the hotly anticipated BlackBerry Balance feature, which aims to reinstate BlackBerry's dominance among business users. It allows users to maintain a personal profile on the phone, while a company can access the phone's professional profile.
- As for hardware, BlackBerry's camera now allows for face-to-face messaging. The Z10 will be available in black and white, and ZDNet notes prices will hover around $149 for a three-month contract, depending on the carrier. The phones will be available tomorrow in the UK, but the US will have to cool its heel until March.