BlackBerry 10 Launch: RIM's Final Shot At A Comeback Has Arrived

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After years of frustrating delays, scary earnings reports and multiple rounds of layoffs, Research In Motion's shot at redemption has arrived.

Except it's not Research In Motion anymore — the company announced Tuesday it is rebranding itself BlackBerry, after its flagship smartphone product.

The announcement came at BlackBerry 10 launch events around the world, where the company announced a Feb. 5 release date for the first BB10 phone in Canada.

The company also stunned some observers by announcing renowned singer Alicia Keys would be coming on board as global creative director, focused on developing media content for the phone. (The BlackBerry was long criticized for lacking many of the media and entertainment options that other smartphones offer, and this should go some way towards dispelling that image.)

PHOTOS: BLACKBERRY 10 LAUNCH

But the company saw its stock drop sharply during the several hours its launch event was taking place, likely the result of profit-taking by investors who have seen RIM shares soar over the past few months, in anticipation of the BB10 release.

RIM (TSX:RIM) had been up as much as four per cent prior before chief executive Thorsten Heins unveiled the BB10 and announced the company's corporate name would be changed to BlackBerry at a widely covered event in New York City.

By late morning, RIM stock was down 55 cents or 3.5 per cent to $15.16, adding to declines over the past two sessions — 3.4 per cent Tuesday and a 7.6 per cent drop on Monday. The stock had staged a huge comeback since hitting a fresh 52-week low of $6.10 last September.

The new phone launch is BlackBerry's attempt to regain its position in the highly competitive North American and European smartphone markets, which are now dominated by iPhone and Android devices.

While the first hurdles to overcome are the opinions of tech analysts and investor reaction, the true measure of success — actual sales of the phones — is still weeks away.

Among the features being touted at Wednesday's event:

— As you type, the operating system predicts what word you want and you can swipe to have it auto-completed.

— BlackBerry Hub acts as one place for all incoming messages, email, BBM, social media.

— BlackBerry Balance then allows one phone to operate as both a business and personal device entirely separate from each other.

— Apps have been divided into two sections by tabs at the top of the screen, labelled Personal and Work.

— The new BlackBerry will also let users seamlessly shift between the phone's applications like they're flipping between pages on a desk.

With files from The Canadian Press

live blog

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Read more here.

It's hard to know what she'll bring to the boardroom table beyond her own fame — aside from saying sayonara to her slutty iPhone, Keys says she's use the BlackBerry Z10 to shoot music videos during tour stops that "capture sights, sounds, and fans of every city that I visit."

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@ SunnyFreeman : #RIM er #BlackBerry shares down nearly 5% on TSX despite seemingly successful launch. Investors unhappy about something? Just profit taking?

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Read more on release dates and pricing here (will be updated through the day)

The long-awaited BlackBerry Z10 will hit Canadian stores on Feb. 5, and will be available for 9 with a three-year contract, the company formerly known as RIM announced Tuesday.

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The event has formally wrapped and MacLeod and Bidulka take the stage to a standing ovation to close the Toronto launch.

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Apple can keep Feist. BlackBerry is upping its cool ante.

Grammy winner Alicia Keys is not only BlackBerry's new creative director but commercial star, and is launching the "Keep Moving Project" which she'll use to create films using BlackBerry 10 at the Super Bowl and her new world tour. The commercial also features Robert Rodriguez and author Neil Gaiman.

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Screengrab from 'Keep Moving' project video featuring Alicia Keys, Neil Gaiman, Robert Rodriguez

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Screengrab from 'Keep Moving' project video featuring Alicia Keys, Neil Gaiman, Robert Rodriguez

blackberry video

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@ SunnyFreeman : Alicia Keys to work closely with app designers, content creators, developers and ppl in music and entertainment. #BlackBerrry10

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alicia keys blackberry

@ SunnyFreeman : Alicia Keys ups cool factor "I was in a long term relationship with #BlackBerry ...kind of broke up with you for something with more bling."

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@ SunnyFreeman : #BlackBerrry10 has big music store, "there's no need to reboot your device," after you've loaded songs, Mallick says--- a swipe at Apple?

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@ SunnyFreeman : #Blackberry to create new position, global creative director appoints actor, philanthropist, Tweeter Alicia Keys!!!!

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@ SunnyFreeman : #BlackBerry #Z10 available in Canada next week! Feb. 5 at 9 on a 3-year contract.

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Read the whole review here:

As a replacement for older versions of BlackBerry OS, BB 10 is a huge step out of the dark ages of mobile OS design. It's something that finally feels intended for a modern, full-touch device, yet still offers the core productivity focus we think BBID-holders will like. Does it have mainstream appeal? Yes, it does, but we're not sure a great stock keyboard and some trick gestures are enough to unseat the current kings of mobile devices.

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Martyn Mallick, vice-president of global alliances and business development, takes to the stage to introduce some apps. He says the deliberate decision to launch a phone with more apps and social use has already paid off — it already has more than 70,000 applications available.

"With the momentum that we've built we will continue to see thousands of apps added every week," he says.

Key apps include Skype, Kindle, What'sApp, Facebook, AND Angry Birds.

A lack of apps for BlackBerry compared to Android and Apple devices had been a huge setback for the company and a big incentive for users to switch to competitors. (via Sunny Freeman)

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"Yes, we have Skype committed to BlackBerry 10 ... And yes we have Angry Birds committed to Blackberry 10."

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There are some pretty cool new media features on the BlackBerry 10 devices. The timeshift camera we already knew about but the BlackBerry story maker is a pretty awesome video editor.

A slight problem for RIM, errr BlackBerry, however, is that their share prices has fallen about four per cent since the event started, perhaps on news the new phones won't be available until March!

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@ SunnyFreeman : Loyal CrackBerry users... Are you ok with waiting for the #Z10 until March? And the keyboard device #Q10 in April? #BlackBerrry10

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@ SunnyFreeman : #BlackBerry showing off another leaked feature... the timeshift camera... there's also a built in photo editor http://t.co/w9ZgbytE

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BBM video chat

Screenshare

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@ SunnyFreeman : Leaks were right about many #BlackBerry10 details like BlackBerry Balance, name #Z10 but #RIMnamechange a shocker!

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BBM Video -- chat moves into video seamlessly

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New BlackBerry (hard not to call them RIM any more) showcases the Blackberry hub on their new devices. It is pretty innovative, lets you manage all your social profiles on one screen. It also pulls up profiles of your contacts and shows you what they've been saying on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.

They've moved on to an intuitive keyboard that has words flick up on screen as you type to save time and reduce mistakes. It's supposed to make it easier to delete, add hashtags, numbers, etc. AND recognizes various languages. Thorsten himself looks pretty impressed.

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This story will be updated..

The tech company behind the BlackBerry smartphone brand announced it would rename itself after its flagship product at the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 platform on Tuesday.

“It is one brand, it is one promise … From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world,” CEO Thorsten Heins told a New York audience.

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@ Ihnatko : Demo of Blackberry Flow, the mechanism for moving around. This is what I saw: it's VERY easy to work BB10 with one hand.

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BLACKBERRY 10 LAUNCH

BlackBerry 10 Launch - Jan. 30, 2013
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