At a press event held in parallel in New York and London today Canadian smartphone manufacturer Research in Motion officially launched its new BlackBerry10 mobile operating system, featuring many photography-centric features as we covered in our preview story. RIM also officially changed its name to BlackBerry and will now trade on the NASDAQ under the BBRY symbol.
Two new BlackBerry devices will feature the BB10 OS. The Z10 is a 4.2-inch 720p touchscreen model with a 1.5GHz dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, which is expandable using microSD cards. NFC technology is on board too. The Z10 comes with a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera and a front-facing 2MP version. The device will be available in the UK starting tomorrow, in Canada from February (at $149 with a 3-year contract) and sometime in March in the U.S. at $199 from Verizon with a 2-year contract. Other U.S. carriers are expected to make further announcements today. BlackBerry is currently testing the device with 110 carriers all over the world, so global availability should be ensured.
The second device is called the Q10 (not X10 as rumored) and should become available some time in April. The specs of this handset are not fully known yet but it comes with Blackberry's signature physical keyboard and sports 720 x 720 pixel screen and a "glass-weave" back cover.
The BlackBerry 10 OS comes with all the features that we described in our preview article and with easy switching between personal and business profiles, the OS is clearly aimed at both professional and enterprise users.
The system launches with approximately 70,000 apps in the BlackBerry World Store, including Amazon Kindle, WhatsApp, SAP, Skype, Facebook, Forssquare, Linkedin, Rdio, tuneln, SoundHound, Box, Reuters, Economist, banking, travel and government apps. For a new platform 70,000 apps is an impressive number, but developer buy-in will remain a crucial success factor for BlackBerry 10 as both Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store offer at this point approximately 10 times as many apps.
We hope to get our hands on the new devices soon to test the imaging capabilities and discover the best camera and editing apps available for the new platform.
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