February 01, 2013 08:01
Canadian smartphone maker Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, says it's back. The company is trying to reclaim a market it once dominated by introducing two new devices. The last few years have been a painful time for the company as customers deserted its platform in favor of newer, more popular devices. This may be the company's last chance to remain a vital player in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Two brand new devices and perhaps a fresh start for a company that has seen its global market share plummet from 20 percent three years ago to just over three percent today.
For BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, it's another chance to remake a faded brand.
"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," he said.
The company promises the same high level of network security the BlackBerry is known for -- along with a fast new browser, a more intuitive operating system, and a revamped library featuring more than 70,000 apps. The Z10 looks much like the touchscreen phones popularized by its rivals, but the Q10 maintains the "qwerty" keyboard that has become BlackBerry's trademark.
Besides the technical and cosmetic updates, Heins says the company will no longer be called RIM or Research in Motion.
"Our customers use a BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world," he said.
Shareholders will be watching if customers adopt the new devices. The company's stock has dropped as much as 90 percent in the last four years as it lost ground to competitors. But company shares have doubled in the last four months as anticipation grew for the new models.
Analysts say the new devices could make or break a company that many credit for starting the technological revolution in smartphones.
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