BlackBerry's maker unveiled a new operating system and a new line of phones Wednesday, along with a new corporate name, with the hope of restoring its products' status as a symbol of executive cool.
Analysts, technology reviewers and app developers with advance access to the BlackBerry Z10 and the BlackBerry 10 operating system have said it is the company's first competitive touch-screen phone. But BlackBerry 10 arrives long after Apple's iPhone and phones using Google's Android operating system have come to dominate the smartphone market that the BlackBerry effectively created. According to IDC, BlackBerry now holds just 4.6 percent of that market, about one-tenth of its historic peak.
To emphasize the changes brought by the new operating system, Thorsten Heins, who took over as chief executive a year ago, said the company, known until now as Research in Motion, had adopted BlackBerry as its corporate name. Its Nasdaq trading symbol will become BBRY.
In addition to the BlackBerry Z10 phone, there will be a second model, the Q10, that includes one of the line's signature physical keyboards.
Verizon Wireless announced that it would price the Z10 at $200 with a two-year contract. It will also be carried by AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
“Today represents a new day in the history of BlackBerry,” Heins said. “These BlackBerry 10 devices are absolutely the best typing experiences in the industry.”
BlackBerry said the Z10 would be available in the United States in March and in Canada on Tuesday.