Euan Rocha and Sinead Carew, Reuters
Motion Ltd unveiled the long-delayed line of smartphones it hopes will
put it on the comeback trail on Wednesday but it disappointed investors
by saying U.S. sales of its all-new BlackBerry 10 will start only in
Chief Executive Thorsten Heins
also announced that RIM was abandoning the name it has used since its
inception in 1985 to take the name of its signature product, signaling
his hopes for a fresh start for the company that pioneered on-your-hip
"From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry," Heins said at the New York launch. "It is one brand; it is one promise."
which is already starting to call itself BlackBerry, had initially
planned to launch the new BlackBerry 10 smartphones in 2011. But it
pushed the date back twice as it struggled to work with a new operating
Ahead of Wednesday's announcements, analysts
had said that any launch after February would be a black mark for the
disappointment was the delay in the U.S., that it will take so long
before the devices get going there," said Eric Jackson, founder and
managing Partner at Ironfire Capital LLC in New York.
said the delays reflected the need for U.S. carrier testing, although
carrier AT&T offered few clues on what that meant.
are very enthusiastic about the devices. We will announce pricing,
availability, and other information at a later date. Beyond that,
nothing to add," said spokesman Mark Siegel.
launched its first BlackBerry back in 1999 as a way for busy executives
to stay in touch with their clients and their offices, and the Canadian
company quickly cornered the market for secure corporate and government
But its star faded as competition rose. The
BlackBerry is now a far-behind also-ran in the race for market share,
with a 3.4 percent global showing in the fourth quarter, down from 20
percent three years before. Its North American market share is even
worse: a mere 2 percent in the fourth quarter.
RIM shares tumbled along with the company's market share, and the stock is down 90 percent from its 2008 peak.
shares fell as much as 8 percent on Wednesday, although they are still
more than twice the level of their September 2012 low, reflecting
ever-louder buzz about the new devices.
new BlackBerry 10 phones will compete with Apple's iPhone and devices
using Google's Android technology, both of which have soared above the
BlackBerry in a competitive market.
BlackBerry 10 devices boast fast browsers, new features, smart cameras
and, unlike previous BlackBerry models, enter the market primed with a
large application library, including services such as Skype and the
popular game Angry Birds.
The BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen device, in
black or white, will be the first to hit the market, with a
country-by-country roll-out that starts in Britain on Thursday.
A Q10 model, equipped with small "qwerty" keyboard that RIM made into its trademark, will launch globally in April.
Z10 device won a lukewarm review from Wall Street Journal tech blogger
Walt Mossberg, who complained of missing or lagging features and a
shortage of apps.
But David Pogue,
who writes for The New York Times, apologized for describing BlackBerry
as doomed in the past. The Z10 touchscreen device was "lovely, fast and
efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas," he said.
about pricing so far have been in line with expectations. U.S. carrier
Verizon Wireless said the phone would cost $199 for a two-year contract,
while Canada's Rogers Communications is quoting C$149 ($150) for
certain three-year plans.
picked a range of venues for its global launch parties, including
Dubai's $650-a-night Armani Hotel, which occupies six floors of the Burj
Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.
New York event took place in a sprawling basketball facility on the
Lower East Side of Manhattan, just north of the Manhattan Bridge. The
BlackBerry has been "Re-designed. Re-engineered. Re-invented," RIM said.
RIM, which is splurging on a Superbowl ad to
promote its new phones, also introduced Grammy-winning singer-songwriter
Alicia Keys as its global creative director.
was in a long-term relationship with BlackBerry, and then I started to
notice some new, kind of hotter, attractive, sexier phones at the gym,
and I kind of broke up with you for something that had a little more
bling," Keys said at the New York launch.
I always missed the way you organized my life, and the way you were
there for me at my job, and so I started to have two phones - I was kind
of playing the field. But then ... you added a lot more features ...
and now, we're exclusively dating again, and I'm very happy."