New phones, new name, new direction: RIM rebrands as Blackberry, unveils two smartphones

All-new Blackberry Z10. Photo via Blackberry.

Talk about a makeover.

At the Blackberry 10 event, CEO Thorsten Heins announced today that his company will no longer be called Research in Motion (RIM), and instead just “Blackberry.” The company stock ticker symbol is changing from “RIM” and is now listed as “BBRY” on NASDAQ, and “BB” on TSX.

You can watch Blackberry CMO Frank Boulben in the video above talk about the philosophy behind the new name.

But those aren’t the only changes coming from the Canadian mobile manufacturer. Heins also announced two new devices with all-new Blackberry 10 software: the Blackberry Z10 and the BlackBerry Q10.

There are several cool core features with the new Blackberry 10 software, including a time shift cameraa new keyboard and something called Blackberry Hub that helps manage your conversations. Blackberry 10 offers support for both its own services and also Android apps.

Blackberry also announced video chat for its messaging service, BBM, for the new z10 and users running the Blackberry 10 mobile OS.

The Z10, which looks similar to the iPhone, is already available for pre-order with Verizon, T-Mobile USA, Sprint and AT&T, but the actual device won’t arrive in the U.S. until March due to carrier testing periods. Pricing has been reported to be anywhere from $149 to $199 with a contract.

The Wall Street Journal has a cool 3D interactive look at the Z10.

There are no details on price or release date for the Q10, which has a physical keyboard.

The company has tagged singer Alicia Keys to be the new “Global Creative Director.” Keys will use her Blackberry on tour and create a video from every city she visits.

This is all big news for competitors in the mobile space and most notably Microsoft. The Redmond software giant has been battling RIM (or, well, now Blackberry) for the third spot behind iOS and Android. During the 12-week period ending Dec. 23, 2012, iOS maintained its lead atop the U.S. smartphone rankings with 51.2 percent of market sales. Android was at 44.2 percent, Windows at 2.6 percent and Blackberry at 1.1 percent share of smartphone sales.

  • Allen

    rounded corners? here comes Apple’s lawyers.

  • Guest

    Congrats to BlackBerry on the pivot, the launch, and the new devices! QNX is a brilliant operating system and I expect it to easily outperform the outmoded kernels in use today. Between improved performance and BlackBerry’s legendary reputation for security, I think the ex-RIM could do a great job in 2013.

  • Ian

    Imagine all money they are blowing just to change the corporate name to Blackberry, that cash should all be poured into hiring kick ass dev’s and accelerate R&D. Terrible decision.

    • Jam Bone

      Spoken by a person that probably hasn’t traveled a lot. As soon as you leave the US Blackberry is huge. Blackberry is 50 to 1 to everything else. I think because they have lower end phones they can clobber the rest of the world and lock the expensive iphone out.

  • Matt Wass de Czege

    I am using the BB Z10 now and it is amazing. Not sure what Ian means by “They should have spent the money on Dev’s and R&D” because that is exactly what they did. This device is a true leap forward in the industry and can help accelerate us to a post PC world. They really thought through flows, like IM to video to sharing your phone screen.