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TMCNet:  Comeback kid BlackBerry flashes new phones, OS

[January 31, 2013]

Comeback kid BlackBerry flashes new phones, OS

Jan 31, 2013 (Khaleej Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In a bid to win back its foothold in a crowded, competitive market, Research In Motion (RIM) on Wednesday unveiled two new devices and a new operating system in select international cities, including Dubai.



The Canadian smartphone manufacturer hosted simultaneous live events in 10 cities, incuding Dubai, New Delhi, London, New York, Toronto, Johannesburg and Jakarta. Wednesday's launch was the most important in RIM's history since 1996 as the company is struggling to regain relevance in a post-iPhone post-Android world.

RIM's comeback plan also included taking the name of its best-known product. The company will now be known simply as BlackBerry.

In the UAE, the new BlackBerry Z10 will be available on February 10. Pricing will vary by carrier partner, but an unsubsidised product will retail for Dh2,599, according to the company.

The UK will be the first market to get the devices on January 31, followed by Canada on February 5, and March 5 is fixed for the US market.

However, a Wall Street Journal report cautioned that the BlackBerry 10 may launch in the UAE without a popular new feature.

BlackBerry Messenger Voice (BBMV) allows customers to make free phone calls over Wi-Fi and is a key feature of the new smartphone. The Wall Street Journal report said RIM is in talks with du and etisalat over concerns BBMV will impact revenue streams. RIM is also in talks with the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, the report added.

Axiom Telecom, one of the distributors in the UAE, has announced that customers will be able to pre-order their BlackBerry 10 device from January 31 by visiting its stores or online.

Available in two variants, the BlackBerry ® Z10 (all-touch) and BlackBerry ® Q10 (touch with physical keyboard) smartphones powered by BlackBerry 10 offer a faster, smarter and smoother experience than any other BlackBerry launched before. The BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones will each come in white and black.

"Today sees a re-invented BlackBerry launching an entirely new mobile experience," Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of BlackBerry, said at the launch. "We are thrilled to be introducing BlackBerry 10 on the new BlackBerry Z10 and BlackBerry Q10 smartphones, to deliver a faster, smarter experience that continuously adapts to your needs. Every feature, every gesture, and every detail in BlackBerry 10 is designed to keep you moving," Heins added.

BlackBerry 10 is a robust and reliable platform that is smooth and responsive. It has a modern design and a gesture-based interface that is highly discoverable. It is designed to support, learn, and adapt to the way for work and share with a lot of features.

The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones look elegant and distinctive, and are termed the fastest and most advanced BlackBerry smartphones yet. They feature 1.5 Ghz dual core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. They include the latest enhancements in high-density pixel and screen technology to display clear, sharp and incredibly vivid images.

Both feature a micro HDMI out port for presentations, and advanced sensors such NFC (near field communications) to support mobile payments and the exchange of information with a tap of the smartphone.

A range of accessories for the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the new BlackBerry ® Mini Stereo Speaker as well as a variety of carrying and charging solutions, including a unique charger that provides on-the-go charging, will be available from select carriers and retailers.

After pioneering the smartphone concept in the early 2000s, the company has seen its grasp on the sector slowly erode ever since Apple released the iPhone in 2007 and several other manufacturers followed quickly to market with Android-powered phones tailored to the consumer market.

Previews of the software have gotten favourable reviews on blogs and now the time has come to test the device and see the trend. Most analysts consider a BlackBerry 10 success to be crucial for the company. Its stock has nearly tripled to $16.18 from a nine-year low in September, though it's still nearly 90 per cent below its 2008 peak of $147.

SAP, world's leading business software company, has praised the enterprise app potential of the BlackBerry10 (BB10) platform ahead of RIM's official announcement. SAP will have Apps available for download from BB10 launch, according to its Mena office.

The new devices and operating system have raised expectaions among BlackBerry lovers, with some analysts predicting that people might leave iPhone, Android or Windows phone and adopt RIM's new devices.

abdulbasit@khaleejtimes.com ___ (c)2013 Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) Visit the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) at www.khaleejtimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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