RIM reveals new line of BlackBerry phones, rebrands itself to just 'BlackBerry'
Research in Motion launched a new line of BlackBerry smartphones and renamed itself to just BlackBerry Wednesday with hopes of breathing new life into the failing brand, but some observers think it may already be too late.
RIM originally planned to debut the phones in 2011, but the date kept getting pushed back after the company struggled with the operating system on the phones.
Ahead of the announcement, analysts had said that any launch after February would be problemantick for the Canadian company.
"The biggest disappointment was the delay in the U.S., that it will take so long before the devices get going there," said Eric Jackson, founder and managing Partner at Ironfire Capital LLC in New York.
The new phones, includeing the iPhone-like BlackBerry z10 and the keyboard-equipped Q10, both feature the company's new operating system. The company didn't release pricing, release dates, availability or other details.
RIM launched its first BlackBerry in 1999, but its star faded as competition rose. The BlackBerry is now a far-behind also-ran in the race for market share, with a 3.4% global showing in the fourth quarter, down from 20% just three years before. Its North American market share is even worse: a mere 2% in the fourth quarter.
RIM shares tumbled along with the company's market share, and the stock is down 90 percent from its 2008 peak.
The new products drove shares down even further, with prices falling as much as 8% after Wednesday's announcement.
Still, some see the new phones as a saving grace. David Pogue, who writes about tech for The New York Times, apologized for describing BlackBerry as doomed in the past.
The Z10 touchscreen device was "lovely, fast and efficient, bristling with fresh, useful ideas," he said.