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Beset By iPhone and Android, Blackberry Reinvents Itself

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(Blackberry president and CEO Thorsten Heins speaks at the Blackberry 10 launch in New York City.   Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

(Blackberry president and CEO Thorsten Heins speaks at the Blackberry 10 launch in New York City. Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

Ian Bush Ian Bush
Ian Bush is an anchor, reporter, news editor, and technology editor&nb...
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By technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Canadian company that makes Blackberry communicators today launched an all-out effort to win over smartphone users who have sided — in big numbers — with iPhone and Android.  The company is doing it with new phones, a new operating system, a star spokeswoman, and even a new name.

Research In Motion now will be known as the device it creates.  “RIM becomes Blackberry,” said CEO Thorsten Heins, showing off two new devices — the Z10 with a full touchscreen (expected to be released in March on all major US carriers for $149-$199, though by late Tuesday, only AT&T and Verizon confirmed they would sell both devices), and the Q10.

“We built this [Q10] for all those people who told us, ‘We just have to have a physical keyboard typing experience,'” he said.

The phones run on the Blackberry 10 operating system.  Heins took several digs at the iPhone’s home button, noting that your finger never needs to leave the screen on a Blackberry.

“Only one thumb and you have full control of where you want to go and what you want to do,” Heins said.

He touted the integrated social networking and work-life balance features; 70,000 apps including Kindle, Skype, SAP, WhatsApp, and Angry Birds; and Blackberry’s new global creative director, Grammy winner Alicia Keys (below right), who once strayed from the platform.

(Alicia Keys at the Blackberry 10 event.  Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

(Alicia Keys at the Blackberry 10 event. Credit: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

“You added a lot more features, a new platform, you got a lot faster — and now, we’re exclusively dating again, and I’m very happy,” she said.

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