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TMCNet:  BB10 Blackberry launch: live coverage

[January 30, 2013]

BB10 Blackberry launch: live coverage

(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 3.38pm GMT These devices are the absolute best typing experience in the industry, says Heins.

There is a demonstration of the Flow feature. the new software has a screen where up to 8 apps - only four can be seen at a time, scroll down to see the rest - can be featured in large boxes. The boxes are live - they show content fed in from the app - the last video you watched on youtube, the last page you viewed on a newspaper app.



The centre of the phone is the Hub, a single in box for all communication including email, texts, twitter, facebook, BlackBerry Messenger. All these services are integrated - if you want to tweet back, you can do so without leaving the Hub.

To check the Hub while in an app, you use your thumb to swipe the screen from left to right, and can "peek" at the Hub's inbox. Swipe fully you are back in the Hub, but unfortunately the app you were in closes at that point.

Getting back to that last app is made easier as the phone automatically moves it into the top left square of the app screen.

3.30pm GMTThe BlackBerry Z10 specifications Size (L x W x D) 130mm x 65.6mm x 9mm Dispay 4.2", four-point multitouch LCD display, 1280 x 768 resolution at 356dpi, touch on lens Software BlackBerry 10 OS Memory 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash, hot-swappable Micro SD slot (up to 32GB) Processor Dual core 1.5 GHz Battery life Talk time: Up to 10 hours on 3G Standby time Up to 305 hours on 3G, up to 316 hours on 2G Audio playback Up to 60 hours Video playback Up to 11 hours Camera 8MP rear-facing camera, autofocus, 5x digital zoom, 1080p HD video recording, 2MP front-facing camera, 3x digital zoom, 720p HD video recording GPS Assisted, autonomous, and simultaneous Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 low energy Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n enabled, 4G mobile hotspot Advanced sensorsAssisted, autonomous and simultaneous GPS accelerometer, magnetometer, proximity, gyroscope, ambient light sensor 3.29pm GMTHandsets unveiled: BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 Heins is trying to gee up the audience, but even in New York the audence noise is a little muted. He is a genteel European type with a pronounced German accent who is not a natural audience warmer-upper like Microsoft's manic Steve Ballmer.

Two devices have been brought to a table on the stage: the Z10 and the Q10. The Z10 is touch, the Q10 is keyboard and touch.

Updated at 3.38pm GMT 3.26pm GMTRIM has changed its name to BlackBerry Big announcement. Company name change.

From this point forward RIM becomes BlackBerry.

It is one brand, it is one promise. Our customers use a BlackBerry, our shareholders invest in BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry. From today we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world.

Updated at 3.29pm GMT 3.26pm GMT Heins says: We've seen the industry move from narrow band to broadband, from analogue to digital, and now at RIM we intend to lead the move from mobile connections to mobile computing. we will be a leader in connecting you to your internet of things.

We are in an era today where having a good browser, a good camera on your phone is just expected. So how do we build on that He says the emphasis is on secure, real time information. Those who have suffered BlackBerry outages will be hoping that's true.

Two years ago we had to make a very big decision. Adopt someone else's operating system or build our own from the ground up. We took the difficult decision.

He is thanking Jim Balsillie, chief executive before him, for building RIM's network of business users around the world, and founder Mike Lazaridis, who was co-chief executive with Balsillie and is now chair of the board. Lazaridis is in New York and takes to his feet, beaming, as the audience applauds.

Updated at 3.31pm GMT 3.20pm GMT RIM's share price is up 4.5% to $16.42 this morning, so the investors are buying into the launch. Let's see what happens by the end of Thorsten Heins's presentation.

The people at RIM have been at their most creative, their most engaged and their most committed. BlackBerry 10 is here.

Heins leads the audience in a round of applause.

This is one of the biggest launches in our industry. And today is not the finish line, it's the starting line.

The device is for people with a hyperconnected social group, who like to get things done, who like balance in their work and social life, who like the simplicity of having everything in one place, who want to move from app to app without having to hit the home button the whole time.

Updated at 3.22pm GMT 3.16pm GMT Someone calling himself "Crackberry Kevin" is being interviewed. He says he will not cut his hair until BlackBerry 10 is launched. Someone has arrived with some scissors ... it's proving quite tough to hack off ... that's it – Crackberry Kevin is shorn.

And on that note, it's time for Heins to take the stage.

Updated at 3.20pm GMT 3.14pm GMT RIM's worldwide tour to generate interest from apps developers has lasted a year, led by Alec Saunders, has covered 2.5m hours of airtime going to 44 cities, on every continent.

In one weekend's "Portathon", 15,000 apps were submitted. He says BlackBerry will have the largest launch catalogue of apps of any new platform. There will be 70,000 from launch, and 100,000 in the next month.

Updated at 3.18pm GMT 3.09pm GMTCountdown to BlackBerry 10 There is going to be a countdown. The camera has panned to audiences in Toronto, Paris, London and New York – they are on their feet there, waving and cheering. All other nations are sitting sedately.

There are endorsements from users in Spanish, English and French; Everything Everywhere chief executive Olaf Swantee; an executive from Emirates Group; a Virgin Radio presenter; and someone from McCain, the oven chip maker.

Updated at 3.31pm GMT 3.04pm GMT Rob Orr, Research in Motion's UK managing director, opens the launch event in London. The even is in Old Billingsgate market hall, where there is also a live link to New York. In the room are the media, analysts, network and retail partners, and "the BlackBerry elite". Live link coming up to New York with RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins.

Chief operating officer Kristian Tear is up.

The UK is one of our largest and most important markets globally, from customers to FTSE 100 companies, to police forces and government departments, the BlackBerry is of huge value to millions of people every day.

We knew we needed to move our business forward, and so we created BlackBerry 10. We believe it is the future of our industry.

In a market like the UK BB10 will shape the industry in the same way the BlackBerry did more than ten years ago. This is not just another handset, it is a brand new platform which completely reinvents, re-engineers and redesigns BlackBerry as you know it today.

Updated at 3.16pm GMT 2.26pm GMTWhat the experts say As we wait for the event to start, here are some early verdicts on BB10.

Jan Dawson, Ovum Two major factors have worked against RIM in the past two years: companies are no longer buying the majority of smartphones sold today, and individuals overwhelmingly choose devices other than BlackBerrys when they make buying decisions.

Despite the brief bump RIM will see from the launch of BB10, we expect its decline to continue longer term. At its peak, RIM shipped between 12m and 15m devices a quarter, but there is no way it can hit this number on a sustainable basis once the BB10 launch filters through.

Though the new platform should have significant appeal to existing users, we don't expect it to win significant numbers of converts from other platforms. There is little in the new platform that suggests it will have the compelling apps, content stores, or the broader ecosystem that consumers have come to expect in a competitive smartphone platform.

Charles Golvin, Forrester Research To prove its continued viability and potential for renewal, the company must convince multiple constituents to invest in BB10: its current and former users, application developers, mobile operators, and content providers. The highly competitive smartphone market will only offer them a short window to do this, and they'll need to prove themselves in the face of a simultaneous onslaught of marketing from Microsoft, not to mention the continued push from Apple plus Google and its Android partners. This is a gargantuan challenge for a company of RIM's size.

Mark Sue, RBC Capital Markets Upgrading the aging demographics with tight grips on their BlackBerrys is one thing, but for strong unit growth beyond a niche, RIM must simultaneously go after a broader younger base...Cool advertising is a necessity to try to re-capture consumer mindshare ... Our global smartphone analysis details that the "other" category may show the fastest rate of unit growth this year.

Andrew Brown, Strategy Analytics They've done a good job on this. The keyboard is the best keyboard I've used on a touch screen phone. Its predictive text saves you time and effort and is accurate. The battery is removable and for business users it's nice to have the option to carry a fully charged spare battery with you. It's a usability feature that has not been dictated by self interest but by user feedback. If you look at the iPhone 5 it's a 2007 operating system in a 2012 phone. This is a 2013 operating system in a 2013 phone. People can tire of the lack of innovation and companies like apple will face the challenge of the fatigue. But ultimately the users will decide.

Updated at 3.14pm GMT 2.26pm GMTResearch In Motion attempts to turn the tide The BlackBerry was the original smartphone, whose ability to serve up emails around the clock hooked millions of users. The device formerly known as the crackberry excelled at keeping executives attached to their inboxes, and the ability of its messenger service to spread information like wildfire through large networks of users was literally revolutionary, playing a part in uprisings from the Arab Spring to the London riots.

But the last 18 months have brought turmoil for the Canadian company that BlackBerry: Research In Motion (RIM) is nursing mounting losses and 5000 job cuts. In 2012, 700m smartphones were sold, but 92% of them were made by Apple or run on Google's Android software. RIM's founder and chief technician Mike Lazaridis focused on messaging at the expense of the wider web, and it did not take long for the BlackBerry to fall behind in the smartphone race.

Today, a year after taking over from Lazaridis, RIM's chief executive Thorsten Heins will attempt to turn the tide. At 3pm UK time this afternoon, at an event in New York with simultaneous happenings in Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Delhi, Heins will unveil BB10, the software which RIM promises will put the most sophisticated apps and the internet in its full technicolor glory in the hands of its customers.

To deploy it, there are two new handsets. The most high end is the Z10, which has lost the traditional BlackBerry keyboard and is a pure touch screen device. The second is the Q10, which has a keyboard and a much smaller touch screen.

The Z10 looks a lot like the black iPhone 5, albeit with a larger screen and a plastic body, and at a rumoured £480 out of contract, costs just £50 less than Apple's latest model. There has been none of the secrecy that surrounds Apple product launches. Reviewers already have the Z10 in their hands, and its specifications have been well trailed. It has a 4.2 inch, high resolution screen, and a standard 8 megapixel camera.

The odds are stacked against Heins. RIM is arriving late at an already crowded party. Apple and Samsung are flattening the opposition, and Microsoft is spending much more than RIM can afford on advertising as it tries to carve a niche for Windows Phone, the software on which Nokia is hoping to rebuild its own business.

In RIM's favour, the firm has 80m subscribers and no debt, meaning it can finance several attempts at producing a challenger smartphone.

The apps BB10 can attract will be crucial. It will have some 70,000 at launch (including one for Guardian readers) but what counts here is quality, not quantity. It will take the best efforts from the biggest names to make BB10 attractive to consumers. Because these days, as more people bring their phones to work, the decision about which phone to buy is made not by a company's IT department, but by the user themselves.

Juliette Garside is at the launch event in London, which will also be webcast on RIM's website. Follow live coverage here.

Updated at 3.29pm GMT (c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

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