New BlackBerry unveiled, but Aussies won't get a taste until March

BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 smartphones to launch in March

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins presenting the new BlackBerry Z10 (left) and the Q10.

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins presenting the new BlackBerry Z10 (left) and the Q10.

BlackBerry has unveiled its completely new mobile operating system and launched two new smartphones but the revamped devices won't hit Australian shelves until sometime in March, it was revealed today.

In pictures: BlackBerry 10 smartphones

The Canadian giant also announced it was rebranding its company name from Research In Motion (RIM) to a single "BlackBerry" brand.

The "reinvention" of BlackBerry 10 software will feature on two new smartphones that were announced at multiple press events across the globe overnight. The hero BlackBerry Z10 device has a 4.2in touchscreen, while the BlackBerry Q10 features a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard, a more traditional BlackBerry form factor. Both are 4G capable smartphones and will be available in black and white variants.

The BlackBerry Z10 will be available from tomorrow in the UK, from 5 February in Canada, and from 10 February in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, it won't be available in Australia and the US until "sometime" in March. The BlackBerry Q10 won’t be released in Australia for several months.

BlackBerry today confirmed that Australia's two largest telcos, Telstra and Optus, would both sell the new Z10 smartphone from March, but pricing and specific availability dates were not announced.

The new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.
The new BlackBerry Z10 smartphone.

BlackBerry's new operating system and smartphones are a last ditch attempt by the company to win back market share from Apple's popular iPhone and Google Android devices, which dominate the smartphone market both in Australia and across the globe.

"To say that we're excited about arriving at this point today is a massive understatement," said BlackBerry Australia's managing director, Matthew Ball. "We are very confident with the product, we've engaged appropriately with our top customers, our carrier partners and we're in a position to say we're launching."

Ball admitted the company has a tough challenge to sell the devices against popular competitors, but said BlackBerry may have an advantage with its all-new operating system.

"It think its fair to say that the existing BlackBerry operating system has been taken as far as it can be," he explained. "I think every single last drop of development capability was squeezed out of that platform and its time to move on."

"I think many of our competitors are going to be facing that time soon. We are in an enviable position in that we are launching a brand new platform, we are not bolting new features onto existing architecture. We are putting a brand new platform in place that we are able to tweak and build as we go and as we evolve," he said.

All-new BlackBerry a tough challenge

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.

Ball explained that that company attempted to include the features its customer based liked about past BlackBerry devices and improve features that people didn't like, such as a lack of third-party applications and a below par Web browser.

"The user experience is critical," he explained. "The things that people love about BlackBerry were the security, the speed and the email functionality. The things that people didn't like were the lack of applications and the browser experience. What we've done is taken the essence of BlackBerry and reinvent it for 2013 and beyond," he said.

The BlackBerry 10 operating system being demonstrated at a launch event in New York.
The BlackBerry 10 operating system being demonstrated at a launch event in New York.

Local Australian apps that have been announced for the BlackBerry 10 platform include Event Cinemas, goCatch, Fox Sports, Quickflix and Fairfax, while a number of big name global applications have been confirmed including the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Skype, Rdio, Whatsapp Messenger, Evernote, Dropbox and TuneIn Radio. Available games at launch include popular titles like Angry Birds, Jetpack Joyride, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja and Modern Combat 4.

Ball confirmed that BlackBerry will aim for an "ideal ratio" of 45 per cent consumer customers in Australia within the first twelve months, saying the company's targets are both "significant" and "ambitious".

"About two thirds of our current Australian customer base are enterprise customers and about one third are consumer customers," he said. "Our intention with BlackBerry 10 is that we expand significantly our footprint into the consumer market as well as maintaining our growth in the enterprise market."

"I think for us the ideal ratio is around the 45 per cent consumer base and 55 per cent business in the first year at least. There is no doubt about it, our growth targets locally are significant and ambitious."

Telstra and Optus are expected to announce specific details of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in the coming weeks.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags smartphonesRIMBlackberrymobile phonesblackberry 10BlackBerry Q10BlackBerry Z10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Ross Catanzariti

Ross Catanzariti

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?