BlackBerry's new operating system and Z10 smartphone is the first step in an evolution from mobile communications to mobile computing, the company has claimed.
Speaking at the official launch of BlackBerry 10 in Sydney yesterday, BlackBerry president and CEO Thorsten Heins stressed that the company wasn't just launching a new device, but a whole new mobile computing platform.
"We are not just launching a new product," said Heins. "Today we are also launching a whole new mobile computing platform. This is why we need to be in this innovative country and this innovative industry."
"Australians expect and demand more and more from their smartphones to help them in their daily lives. And it [BlackBerry 10] goes far beyond what regular smartphones are actually really doing."
The new BlackBerry 10 operating system uses a gesture-based interface, which is a departure from previous BlackBerry products.
The software utilises a central "BlackBerry Hub" to manage all messages and notifications, has an advanced multitasking feature called "BlackBerry Flow" and includes a new touch screen keyboard that the company says will learn and adapt to your keystrokes to offer word suggestions and predictions while typing.
While Heins admitted it was "hard work" building the new BlackBerry 10 platform, he dismissed suggestions the revamped OS and new smartphone is a last chance for the company in the competitive smartphone market.
"This is a very, very exciting time for BlackBerry. There was a lot of internal work that we needed to do to become fresh again, to become energised and in record time build this platform," he said.
"I'm leading the company through a very, very difficult and challenging position, and here we are and we are completing the first part of the journey of that transformation we started 30 months ago."
"We are debt free and as of last quarter we had 2.8 billion dollars cash in the bank. This is enough money to market BlackBerry 10 successfully, and this is enough money to put into R&D and work on this exciting future of mobile computing."
As well as officially launching the BlackBerry 10 platform in Australia, the company also announced a number of upcoming Australian apps including local online fashion retailer The Iconic, Hotels Combined, TripView, Event Cinemas, goCatch, Fox Sports, Quickflix, Fairfax and Virgin Australia.
A number of big name global applications have already been confirmed including the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Skype, Rdio, Whatsapp Messenger, Evernote, Dropbox and TuneIn Radio, along with gaming titles Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja and Modern Combat 4.
The BlackBerry Z10 smartphone will be available through Australia retailers Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi and Fone Zone, or on contract plans through Optus and Telstra from Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 March, respectively.
Optus has already confirmed its pricing for the BlackBerry Z10, but Telstra is yet to release its plan details.
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