BlackBerry 10 launches with comeback hopes

The new OS brings a much needed refresh to the BlackBerry platform

With its future in the balance, the company until now known as Research In Motion launched its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, two new handsets and a new company name.

The new operating system brings the BlackBerry platform a desperately needed update and helps put it on the same functional level as Apple's iOS, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 8. But after falling behind for a couple of years, the big question is whether the company can catch up.

"Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry," said Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry, in front of an audience of journalists and analysts in New York. The company used the event to reveal its name change from Research In Motion.

"Two years ago, we had to make a very serious decision: adopt somebody else's platform or build a whole new one," he said. "And we made the tough call to go it alone."

BlackBerry based the new operating system on QNX, a real-time OS that it acquired in 2010.

At the heart of the new platform is the BlackBerry Hub, a message center that brings together email, Twitter and Facebook messages, BlackBerry messaging, and just about any other means of communication. The hub is accessible from anywhere within the phone with a rightward swipe of a finger.

It goes beyond a notification center or icons by providing direct access to incoming messages without launching external applications. And users can also respond to messages from within the hub. It's intended as a time-saver and serves as proof that RIM continues to see fast and efficient messaging as a key concern of its target users.

BlackBerry's core messaging platform, BBM, is also getting an upgrade with the addition of video chat. The same system also makes screen sharing possible, in which one BlackBerry user can share their screen with another user via a BBM session.

And in a nod to corporate users, RIM's most stalwart customers, there's BlackBerry Balance. It divides the phone into personal and work sides, with a company able to set policies and maintain security on the work side of the phone, but allowing the user freedom on the personal side. A virtual firewall between the two sides means confidential corporate data can't be copied or shared to the personal side.

Underpinning the new platform will be around 70,000 applications -- what BlackBerry says is the largest launch lineup of any smartphone platform. The number is largely thanks to incentives offered to application developers to port their software to the BlackBerry 10.

RIM revolutionized mobile messaging with its BlackBerry handsets and is hoping it can regain some of that momentum with Wednesday's launch.

The launch handset lineup will consist of two phones: the BlackBerry Z10 and the Q10. The Z10 is a touchscreen handset and the Q10 features the familiar BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard.

On the Z10, users will type on a virtual keyboard that features an innovative interface. As words are spelled out, the system predicts likely words and they appear above keys on the keyboard. Users can select words with a flicking motion that sends them toward the text being typed. Because the predicted words appear above keys, users don't have to move their thumbs to a separate area of the keyboard and can type more quickly.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BlackBerry OSBlackberryresearch in motionconsumer electronicssmartphonesMobile OSesmobile

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?