BlackBerry is opening a development studio in Vancouver, just as it re-brands and launches a smartphone that could revolutionize the mobile market.

The Kitchener, Ont.-based company is opening a centre at Wavefront, a non-profit facility that hosts a community of mobile startups.

BlackBerry, which until Wednesday was known as Research in Motion, chose Vancouver "because it makes sense to," says Wavefront CEO James Maynard.

"We have a library of over 1,000 handsets and a usability testing facility. It really takes resources out of what BlackBerry's offering in the tech sector and weaves it in with Wavefront's abilities," he tells The Huffington Post B.C.

Maynard says Vancouver has been a "strong mobile environment" since the '80s, when companies started developing mobile data like taxi monitoring and data tracking for FedEx.

Vancouver came in ninth in a Genome report ranking the world's best startup environments.

"We've always had a strong wireless and telecom engineering community," Maynard says. "It's just been simmering along with small startups."

The BlackBerry Tech Centre, set to launch on Thursday, is just one of three in North America, said The Vancouver Sun.

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  • Alicia Keys

    Excited2jump right in2my new role as Global Creative Director of@Blackberry! #BlackBerry10 #keepmoving #forwardthinking http://t.co/s0gJUi4y

  • Tye Nave

    why am I saying this.. but I kinda want the blackberry 10..

  • DON

    #Blackberry10 is perhaps @BlackBerry's last battle to survive in a competitive market. If this doesn't work, its the beginning of the end.

  • Aaron Careaga

    #BlackBerry10 looks like an awesome device running a great platform, but will the app developers come? #Tech #QofDay

  • André Graham

    Even though I've jumped ship, I'm still glad to see that #BlackBerry has FINALLY gotten a complete overhaul. #BlackBerry10