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BlackBerry on Wednesday unveiled a new line of smartphones that have many of the features consumers have come to expect in the devices, such as touch screens, apps and multimedia. The question is, has BlackBerry already missed the boat?
The once gold standard for mobile phones has fallen on hard times, forcing Research In Motion, the Canadian company behind the BlackBerry, to slash jobs and other costs as sales plummeted, while at the same time come up with a device that consumers will buy.
That new device is the BlackBerry 10. RIM is promising more speed, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone.
Initially there will be two variations of the BlackBerry 10: One, the Z10, features a touch screen and the other, the Q10, has a combined smaller touch screen and keyboard. Among the other features: BlackBerry Balance separates work and personal apps on the phone as two different profiles; BlackBerry Messenger has video calling capabilities. The devices are powered by the BlackBerry operating system.
BlackBerry 10 will launch with 70,000 apps, which pales in comparison to the 700,000-plus apps for the iPhone and Android-based phones.
CNN reports the Z10 will hit the market first in the United Kingdom on Thursday, then in Canada on Feb. 5, and the United Arab Emirates a week later. U.S. consumers won’t be able to buy the new phone until sometime in March.
According to Forbes, RIM’s global smartphone market share is down to roughly 6 percent from a peak of 20 percent just three years ago. Businesses and governments have moved away from supplying their staffers the BlackBerry, opting instead for the iPhone and other devices.
As it pulls out all the stops to roll out its new device, RIM is even changing its name to “BlackBerry.”
Will you give the BlackBerry a second look?