Published: January 30, 2013 2:32 PM
By Florence Legrand
Translated by: Hugh Ehreth
Research in Motion is presenting today, 30 January, its new operating system, BlackBerry 10 (BB10), as well as the first smartphones that will carry it. It's a major move for the Canadian brand; already struggling to keep up with Samsung and Apple, the firm has a new competitor to deal with: Windows Phone 8.

BB10 hub

Today is the day that RIM will be showing the world its cards. It's a day in which the company can't afford to miss its mark. In order to re-spur its own growth, the firm must be able to produce some "oohs" and "aahs". For after losing the golden sheen that once surrounded the brand name—not to mention the majority of its market share—the company's very future rides on this moment. According to IDC, Research In Motion held just 6% of the market in 2012. Samsung held 40%. And when it comes to OS market share, there's a gaping abyss separating BlackBerry OS and Android, which accounts for nearly 70% of the global market.

"Future-proof for the next ten years"


RIM appears to be pulling out the big guns, but what's even more important is that the company act quickly and on point. BB10 will have to be impressive enough to make consumers forget about a certain number of missteps that have helped tarnish the company's image, such as its numerous launch delays. But what the company needs most right now is new customers, new sales. Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry's CEO, told German newspaper, Die Welt, that "we have taken the time to build a platform that is future-proof for the next ten years." It's a pledge that's as ambitious as the task is arduous.

Arriving two years late on the smartphone scene and with a platform that struggles to offer optimal performance for mobile web browsing, BlackBerry's handsets are clearly a few steps behind the competition, which for several years now have already mastered the touchscreen user interface. RIM says this is one of the main improvements that will come with BB10, which is expected to be optimised for the company's signature feature, the mobile keyboard, as well as touchscreen interfaces.

A brighter tomorrow?


One of the features the company is counting on to breathe new life into the BlackBerry brand is an innovative new interface that garnered positive reactions from the press with the first hands-on demonstrations, a function that allows users to juggle multiple apps at once. Also on the menu are: a new web browser, a revised touchscreen keyboard and a hub for e-mails, messages and social network notifications. There's also a function that makes it easier to separate your work, family and social lives.

The new phones are expected to be a visual departure from the designs the brand has become known for. Essentially, BB10 is RIM's last chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew.

BB10 keyboard

Once upon a time, RIM was the envy of the mobile community. Today, the company is struggling to convince analysts that it's capable of reclaiming its heavyweight status on one of the most coveted markets in the world, one dominated by Samsung, Google and Apple. For many observers, BB10 is RIM's last chance at a comeback—one that will mean not just catching up with the competition, but surpassing it.

> BlackBerry 10: First Impressions and Photos
 


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