Thursday, August 21, 2014

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BlackBerry unveils latest smartphones

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TWC News: BlackBerry unveils latest smartphones
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It was hard not to feel that many in attendance at the BlackBerry 10 launch event were preparing for one of two conclusions about what they were about to see: the beginning of the end, or the beginning of a new beginning for the one-time king of all smartphones.

"I think tech journalists are optimists, and I think we want to be pleasantly surprised," Sascha Segan with PCMag.com said.

BlackBerry, which is now the official name of the company, showed off two new devices showcasing the new operating system: the all-touch Z10, and the Q10, with that signature keyboard.

Developers hit on a few key themes they think will help the devices woo customers from iPhones and Androids. First, typing. The virtual keyboard is designed to be easier and more intuitive to use than those from competitors.

Second, a simple method for changing profiles: making the phone your work phone or your play phone, giving your bosses security control over the work side and you control over the play side.

And third, true multi-tasking.

"Everything in BlackBerry 10 is there in one place for you, and with a simple swipe, you can share, you can consume, you can create, and you connect," Thorsten Heins, CEO of BlackBerry, said.

BlackBerry said it'll launch with 70,000 apps, at least 1,000 of which are from big-time developers eager to show their support.

"The development environment is a lot friendlier than it's been in the past," Dennis Crowley, co-founder of FourSquare, said.

Are tech journalists still optimistic? I'd say cautiously so. Many said, at the very least, that this whole idea of having work and play separated, but on the same single device, is certainly a good start.

"A lot of it is going to be pushing from people who have to carry a BlackBerry device and then showing, it's gonna be word of mouth, it's going to be a little bit more viral, I think, than it's been maybe with some other platforms," Suzanne Kantra with Techilicious.com said.

As for pricing, the all-touch Z10 will hit shelves in March for between $150 and $200 depending on the carrier, plus the cost of service. The Q10 is due out April, and no price has been set yet.

And one corporate change to note: to help ensure devices stay hip and up to date, the company's new Global Creative Director is Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter Alicia Keys.

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