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BlackBerry launches long-awaited comeback campaign

  • Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, announces that the company will now be known as BlackBerry, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in New York. The new 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/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — A new generation of more versatile BlackBerry smartphones is finally about to hit the market after excruciating delays allowed mobile devices made by Apple, Samsung and others to build commanding leads in a market that is redefining society.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. formally unveiled its long-awaited line-up of revamped smartphones and software Wednesday at simultaneous events held in New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Dubai, Johannesburg, Jakarta and Delhi.

In a move underscoring the stakes riding on its make-or-break product line-up, the Canadian company used the occasion to announce it is changing its name to BlackBerry — a pioneering brand that has lost its cachet since Apple's 2007 release of the iPhone reset expectations for what a smartphone should do.

The first devices in the new crop of BlackBerrys will be called the Q10, which will feature a physical keyboard like previous versions of the phone, and the Z10 will have only touch-screen keyboard, like Apple Inc.'s trend-setting iPhone and other handsets running on Google Inc.'s Android software, including Samsung's popular Galaxy. They will run on a redesigned operating system called BlackBerry 10, which the company began working on after buying QNX Software Systems in 2010.

The new software and BlackBerrys were supposed to be released a year ago, only to be delayed while Apple and Android device makers won more zealous converts to their products. In the meantime, Microsoft Corp. also rolled out a new Windows operating system for smartphones, confronting RIM with another technology powerhouse to battle.


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