Research In Motion Ltd on Wednesday unveiled a long-delayed line of smartphones it says will put the company on the comeback trail in a market it once dominated, promising its BlackBerry 10 devices will wow consumers and businesses alike when they hit stores.
Signaling his hopes for a fresh start for the company that pioneered on-your-hip email, Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said RIM was abandoning the name it has used since its inception in 1985. From now on, he told tech analysts and other guests, the company will just be known as BlackBerry.
The 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.
The BlackBerry 10 phones boast fast browsers, new features, smart cameras and, unlike previous models, enter the market primed with a large app library.
"We have definitely been on a journey of transformation, a journey to not only transform our business and our brand, but one which I truly believe will transform mobile communications into true mobile computing," Heins said at a New York launch event.
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"It's been almost one year exactly since I was handed the reins at Research In Motion, and it has been easily the most challenging year of my career to date. It has also been by far the most exhilarating and the most rewarding one."
RIM picked a range of venues for its global launch parties. Toronto's announcement was in the downtown art deco Carlu rooms, while the Dubai event was held at the $650-a-night Armani hotel, which occupies six floors of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.
The 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.
(Writing by Janet Guttsman; Editing by Frank McGurty and Lisa Von Ahn)
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