BlackBerry10 launched; RIM renamed BlackBerry

BlackBerry 10 devices will feature touchscreen as well as ones with keyboards.

New York: Research in Motion (RIM), known for its BlackBerry brand of mobile devices, Wednesday re-christened itself as 'BlackBerry' and launched its much-awaited operating system in an attempt to make a comeback in the global smartphone market.

Looking at the new road ahead for the company that had pioneered email on the go, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said the company was undertaking a "journey of transformation of business and brand".

Speaking at the launch in New York, Heins said, "We have definitely been on a journey of transformation, a journey to not only transform our business and our brand, but one which I truly believe will transform mobile communications into true mobile computing."

BlackBerry unveiled its new identity and the new operating system across multiple cities -- New Delhi, London, Paris, Johannesburg, Toronto, Jakarta and Dubai.

He added the company has "re-designed and re-engineered" its products and "re-invented" the company to reflect one consistent brand.

The company also announced the launch of two devices -- Z10 and Q10 -- powered by the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which will compete with Apple's iPhone and those based on Google's Android operating system.

Once a leader in the smartphone category, RIM steadily lost market share as iPhones and Android-powered devices gained popularity across the world.

RIM's stocks also took a beating, declining close to 72 percent from over USD 61 apiece in January 2010 to USD 17.54 on January 25, 2012. It had fallen to as low as USD 6.30 in September 2012.

In July-September period of 2012, Android smartphones had a market share of 72.4 percent, while Apple's iOS market share stood at 13.9 percent compared to RIM's share of 5.3 percent.

"BlackBerry 10 launch is definitely an important one for the company. They have created a lot of buzz around the platform with their marketing activities, done a lot of customer shows and revamped their application store.

"We'll have to wait and watch how the market responds to it," IDC Principal Analysts Sanchit Vir Gogia told PTI.

BlackBerry enthusiasts in India would, however, have to wait for sometime to grab the new devices.

Unlike most other markets, BlackBerry is popular in India, especially among youth. As per CyberMedia Research, RIM's market share in Indian smartphone market stood at 12.1 percent during January-June 2012 period.

RIM is betting big on touchscreen with its new User Interface (UI) on Z10 and other features like BlackBerry Balance.

BlackBerry, which faced strong criticism for lack of content on its application store, has also revamped it to take on Android's Play Store and Apple's App Store.

BlackBerry, which for long been touted as an enterprise device, has introduced 'BlackBerry Balance' that will allow users separate professional data and applications from music, photographs and other personal items. The new devices also feature enhanced camera features.

The launch is also important for Thorsten Heins, who took over as RIM's CEO in 2012 just under a year ago.

"It's been almost one year exactly since I was handed the reins at Research In Motion, and it has been easily the most challenging year of my career to date. It has also been by far the most exhilarating and the most rewarding one," Heins said.