RIM unveils long-awaited BlackBerry 10
Along with the launch, RIM announced that it was changing its name to BlackBerry. The company will trade as "BBRY" on the NASDAQ exchange beginning Monday, Feb. 4. The company's website is changing to www.blackberry.com and the company email addresses will migrate to an @blackberry.com suffix.
The stock market was not sure how to take the launch of BlackBerry 10 and the change of the corporate name, with RIM's share price jumping 8 percent after the opening bell, only to dive again during mid-morning trading.
The BlackBerry 10 and BES 10 are RIM's bet that it can regain its position in the enterprise mobility market, a position it has seen shrink in response to the onslaught of employee-owned Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android devices flooding the enterprise. RIM has seen its smartphone market share shrink below 5 percent, losing market share to Apple and Google.
"Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry," said Thorsten Heins, RIM's chief executive, in unveiling BlackBerry 10 in New York--with simulcasts in Toronto, London, Paris, Johannesburg and Dubai. Heinz unveiled two smartphones--the all-touchscreen Z10 and the Q10, which has the traditional physical keyboard.
Many analysts have said that the success of BlackBerry 10 is critical to RIM's future.
Analysts agree that RIM has made some nifty improvements with its BlackBerry 10 OS and BES 10 server that will make IT administrators happy. One improvement that should ease BYOD security concerns is BlackBerry Balance, which separates work and personal data, apps and workspaces. One drawback is that enterprises must have the BES 10 server to use the Balance feature.
In addition, much of the funding for app development is going toward Apple and Android devices. RIM said last December that it has lined up 70,000 apps for the BlackBerry 10 already. It still has a long way to go to catch up with other platforms, particularly in the enterprise app space.
RIM has a tall marketing task in front of it, a task made more difficult by Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) launch of Windows 8-based tablets and smartphones. RIM is competing with Microsoft for the third spot in the enterprise.