From today (30 January) RIM has changed its name to BlackBerry from its stock exchange ticker – now $BBRY – through to all corporate communications.
BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins said at the launch event in New York: “It is one brand, one promise. Our customers use BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world. We have reinvented this company and want to reflect this in our brand.”
RIM announced the rebrand at the launch of its pivotal BB10 operating system, which it hopes will reverse its recent run of poor fortune which has seen its share of the global smartphone market drop sharply, resulting several loss-making quarters for the company.
Heins said the new phones and operating system are targeted at people who are: “hyper-connected socially, have an appetite for getting things done, true multitasks, people who want to get the most our of their smartphones [and] need balance in both their professional and personal lives.”
The company has appointed American actress and singer-songwriter Alicia Keys into the new role of global creative director in a bid to represent the kind of target audience BlackBerry is looking to reach.
The launch of BB10 will be supported by BlackBerry’s biggest marketing campaign to date, including a campaign carrying the theme “keep moving”. A video campaign aired at launch featured Keys, film director Robert Rodriguez and author Neil Gaiman demonstrating how they will use their BlackBerrys as part of their “keep moving” projects.
BB10’s standout features include “BlackBerry Balance”, which allows people to switch between their work and personal applications and “BlackBerry Flow”, which provides the opportunity to switch between apps by swiping without the need to close them or press a home button. BlackBerry Messenger has also been updated to include video calling and screen sharing.
It launches with more than 70,000 apps – including Skype, Angry Birds, LinkedIn and Where’s My Water. Heins said BlackBerry has established a new way to work more “strategically and openly” with its partners, such as brands and developers, because its AppWorld works on an open system.
The company also launched two new smartphones – the Z10 touchscreen phone and Q10, which has a keyboard – which will support the OS.
BlackBerry also set out its future vision to lead the move from “mobile communications” to “mobile computing”, offering users more ays to connect their mobile experience to other devices such as their cars, healthcare systems and other electronics in the home.
BB10 and the two compatible handsets will – in a rare move – be available in the UK first, from Thursday 31 January.
BlackBerry’s stock price fell 4.77 per cent to $14.96 at the time of writing.