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Crucial, long-overdue BlackBerry makeover arrives

  • FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2008, file photo, the logo on a BlackBerry smartphone is shows in Bochum, Germany. The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone, the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company. (AP Photo/dapd, Volker Hartmann)

TORONTO — The maker of the BlackBerry smartphone is promising a speedy browser, a superb typing experience and the ability to keep work and personal identities separate on the same phone, the fruit of a crucial, long-overdue makeover for the Canadian company.

Thorsten Heins, chief executive of Research In Motion Ltd., will reveal the first phone with the new BlackBerry 10 system in New York on Wednesday. Repeated delays have left the once-pioneering BlackBerry an afterthought in the shadow of Apple's trend-setting iPhone and Google's Android-driven devices.

Now, there's some optimism. Previews of the software have gotten favorable reviews on blogs. Financial analysts are starting to see some slight room for a comeback. RIM's stock has nearly tripled to about $16.30 from a nine-year low in September, though it's still nearly 90 percent below its 2008 peak of $147.

Most analysts consider a BlackBerry 10 success to be crucial for the company's long-term viability.

"The old models are becoming obsolete quickly," BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis said. "There is still a big user base but it's going to rotate off. The question is: Where do they rotate to?"


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