RIM rebrands itself and unveils BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 devices


RIM has re-branded itself as "BlackBerry" and finally launched its BlackBerry 10 range of devices, as the Canadian firm fights to claw back market share from Apple and Samsung.

The firm has announced two handsets, which will runs its BB10 operating system, but was coy on specs.

The flagship BB Z10 will feature a 4.2in display with 356 pixels-per-inch density.

BlackBerry has revamped the keyboard - and instead of typing out words, users will be able to "flick" words onto the screen - allowing them to type with just one hand.

Meanwhile, the Q10 combines BlackBerry's traditional physical keyboard with the BlackBerry 10 software and looks to be the the equivalent of the BlackBerry Bold.

What's in it for business?

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BlackBerry 10 is based on the QNX operating system which RIM introduced in its ill-fated PlayBook tablet. The firm has spent the entirety of 2012 fine-tuning the OS, and claims it is future-proofed for "the next 10 years".

There will be over 70,000 apps available on launch in BlackBerry World, and the firm expects thousands more to be added each week.

Key apps which are "committed" to the BB platform include Angry Birds, Facebook, Skype, SAP and Whatsapp. However, it is unclear if they will be available at launch.

BlackBerry claims the new software allows for "true-multitasking" - so users can play a video on the internet and check an email without pausing it via its "Peek" feature.

The BlackBerry Hub is deeply integrated into applications. Users can manage messages and social networks without actually having to go into applications such as LinkedIn or the Calendar.

Thorsten Heins, CEO of RIM, took the stage and claimed the BB10 software will transform the market and will mark the start of "true mobile computing".

"We will soon give you more ways to connect your mobile experiences to everyone else. We will be the leader of connecting you to the internet of things," he said.

"Today is a new day in the history of BlackBerry. Two years ago we had to make a serious decision to use someone else's platform or to build a whole new one. We made the decision to go it alone."

One of the key features which is aimed at attracting businesses to deploy the device is inclusion of the BlackBerry Balance software.

The Balance software allows IT admins to split work and personal information on the device and put restrictions in place. So, for example, admins can set the device up so sensitive data may not be copied to a personal workspace.

In the event that a user leaves the firm and takes the BlackBerry device with them, the company says admins will be able to remotely delete all corporate information without affecting any personal data.

Further to this, the BlackBerry 10 platform has received FIPS 140-2 certification. This could make handsets supporting the new BlackBerry software highly desirable in sectors where information needs to be kept confidential such as healthcare, government, legal and financial verticals.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.