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Blackberry 10 launch – live blog

Allan Swann
January 30, 2013

ITS OVER.

What Mobile will have a review of the Z10 in the next issue (and online!) – stay posted.   The Z10s specs and a first look can be read here.

All up an excellent launch by Blackberry – can’t imagine anything they could do better. No cheesiness etc., professional demo – Alicia Keys a bit of a stretch, but well done BB10. My cynicism has wilted a (little) bit.

They still need the apps, the carrier support and sales – but an impressive show by Blackberry.

UK Launch

4.33pm UK launch details – all major networks will have it – EE gets 4G, Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4u everyone selling from tomorrow, waiting for prices. Another ad reel talking about how awesome BB10 is…

4.28pm Event is basically over, UK Blackberry team reeling out some app developers – an Angry Birds developer; not terribly interesting given that Angry Birds is on every platform under the sun…seems unnecessary? No new information – “developing on BB10 is great”.

4.22pm Going back local – UK RIM (sorry, Blackberry!) MD Rod Orr.  UK onstage demo of meeting apps with Angelo Fiergo from Cisco.   Event is dragging on a bit now, those in the audience visibly fidgeting.

Utilises some of the new features demoed today – real time peeking between apps etc.

Alicia Keys as global creative director

4.12pm Alicia Keys announced as Global Creative Director.   Don’t know what that means really.   Has “always wanted to work with a top level technology company…wanted to shape a technology platform.”

4.08pm Blackberry Z10 released TOMORROW in UK, ahead of all world. Subsidised and on contracts.   Pre reg taken today – US in Feb 10 $149.99 on three year contract – THREE year contract?

4.05pm Media partners – claims all 8 movie studios are on board, so TV and movies in BlackBerry World… ALL major record labels, including unspecified indies… Wants BlackBerry WOrld to challenge Apple, Google media stores… Unknown about UK availability – traditionally problems licensing this stuff from US to international/EU/UK…

Apptastic

4pm Moving on to partners now. Martyn Mallick, VP of Global Alliances and corporate app development. Boasts 70,000 apps on launch date, incl. Foursquare etc. Plans to add 1000s per week..

Skype, Kindle, Whatsapp, Angry Birds all confirmed – Skype a surprise.   Even Microsoft hasn’t managed to get that working properly on WP8! (Microsoft owns Skype).

New tools

3.56pm Blackberry Story Maker – media tool – allows you to create semi-slideshow, video, text mash up; apps do this on other devices, hardly killer. Nice integration though – easy interface, and can edit on the fly.

3.52pm Now demoing camera. Allows you to rewind through several photos to pick best one… effectively films, and lets you pick a frame as a photo. Saw this last year, Nokia etc. have taken this feature too. Demos editing, similar to most phones, has Instagram filters, cropping etc.   Nothing too impressive.

3.50pm Blackberry Remember announced – new feature – organisation tool. Seems similar to Evernote – make notes, photos emails etc. into folders – accessible throughout interface. i.e. file photos to holiday folder in remember – flick between it and work.

3.47pm BlackBerry Messenger has an update – still inside BB Flow – so no app switching, just peeking. Video chat demoed live – US to UK – seems seamless.   Also has new feature ‘screenshare’ – allows you to share your screen to another device in real time – so docs, movies, pics etc. – could be a great way for corporates to share data without having to copy files/dropbox?

3.45pm BlackBerry Balance – swipe upwards to flick between work and personal – claims work is encrypted – certainly of interest for IT teams working on BYOD – but is it too late? Split profiles on a single device is also available on other devices via apps.

3.40pm  Now demoing keyboard – looks fancy, swipe style of predictive text – more gestures. Again, this was demoed a year ago.   Bhardwaj says will do multiple languages – useful.
“Sophistication, elegance, confidence,” as Heins puts it – looks slick – proof will be in the pudding in terms of usage though.

3.35pm BlackBerry Hub mashes email, twitter, Messenger, Facebook etc. into single place – looks much better than Windows Phone 8’s attempt to do the same thing – clean crisp folder design – no mess.   Uses peek to flick between meetings, bbm etc. – impressive.

New models

3.30pm  Has introduced two models, BlackBerry Z10 (touchscreen) and Q10 (keyboard version).   Vivek Bhardwaj on stage to introduce Blackberry 10 interface – Peek. We saw this a year ago – the ability to flick between apps in real time.

 3.25 CEO Heins introduces former CEO and founder Lazaridis for a thank you – Heins describes transition as “really difficult”and “risky” – sounds similar to Nokia CEO STeven Elop 2 years ago…

HAS NOW ANNOUNCED THAT RIM WILL BE RENAMED BLACKBERRY

3.16pm: Thorstein Heins on stage – describes year long journey as exhilarating. Looks nervous, but getting into his groove. DEfinitely a more professional style than his predecessors…

“Just saying we have reinvented the company is not far enough…”

3.15pm: More ads… unfortunate BB10 gangsta rap… cuts to crackberry fanboy, swore not to cut his hair till today – chopped on stage…

3.10pm: Alec Saunders VP of app development on air, discussing app dev roadtrip around the world – key as BlackBerry’s problems stem from limited app selection… thanks devs. Claims is largest app launch lineup for a first gen product launch… Dubious claim…

3.05pm: Cutting to US Feed – Jack Perry. Saying hello to all the various live feed audiences worldwide. A rather subdued reaction perhaps? RIM definitely making a big deal about this being an international event. Good on them.

Oh, and sound lost. Going to prerecorded ads.

3.02pm:   “Getting to this day has been an incredible journey not just for me, but for the entire company.” No kidding guys

3pm:  And we’re under way… on time too! Although a RIM staffer told us to stop using Wi-Fi… here’s hoping it doesnt cop out.

2.45pm:  We’re here at Old Billingsgate in London for the BlackBerry 10 launch, about to get underway.

 

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