Research In Motion held several briefings to introduce the new operating system and the phones it will power. They also announced a small shocker: RIM is dead, long live Blackberry. RIM is changing its name to Blackberry, to better align itself with its once glorious product name.
That new operating system, BB10, will power two new phones: the Z10, a touchscreen device that looks like an iPhone 5 and the Q10, which is what more people will recognize as a Blackberry since it has the hardware keyboard and, well, looks like a Blackberry from two years ago.
The standout feature, aside from the good looks of the Z10, is that Blackberry is trying what Motorola and nearly every other smartphone manufacturer has tried: the social hub. Yep. Another ‘hub’. Seriously? C’mon, BB, this is 2013 and we are more interested in seeing our calendars, pictures of our spouse and/or kids or even just the ‘home’ screen full of icons and the temperature. Most people are not going to want divided home screen with Twitter and Facebook updates front and center. Called Blackberry Hub, it integrates other sources as well, like text messages and email. Sigh. I don’t want it all mixed up like that. Didn’t we learn from Moto’s disaster? Geeze.
Social hub aside, there are things to like. For example, there is a cool screen sharing feature. I can imagine this will make supporting the devices much better. Have a problem? Share your screen with your support people. Want to demo a cool app? Share the screen and show off that app. Only problem with it is that it only works with other Z10 devices. But, it’s a start.
Are two new phones, a nice operating system and a name change enough to save Blackberry? I can’t answer that, but I can speculate that it is not. Good press on one day does not translate into mega sales the next. Ask Microsoft. It got all kinds of positive press for Windows Phone 8, but the sales are, shall we say, less than stellar. Time will tell. The Z10 is, dare I say, sexy, but not enough to make me want to switch. I suspect that is true for many, many others as well.