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BlackBerry pins hopes on new launch

BlackBerry has launched the new smartphones and software it hopes will help turn a corner and restore it to the top table in mobile technology.

The BlackBerry 10 operating system, the Z10 touchscreen phone and Q10, the first BlackBerry smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard, were launched at an event in New York that was beamed live to London and other venues around the world.

Thorsten Heins, president and chief executive of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM), said the new software system was centred around the BlackBerry Hub, whose key feature is the ability to amalgamate information from multiple apps, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn simultaneously within your phone in "real time".

"We intend to lead the move from mobile communication to mobile computing," he said.

The unveiling was designed to appeal to BlackBerry's core business users as much as social users of systems like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).

It also allows you to use your phone for both work and personal use but keep them separately secure, Mr Heins said, with the hope of encouraging people to "go from using two devices to one". It will also allow video calls within its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant messaging system.

A new app called Screenshare that works with BBM will allow you to give the person you are chatting with virtual access to your phone's screen to look at pictures and other content you might have on it.

A high-tech camera with the ability to capture high-quality stills from a sequence of video, plus a new picture editing system, is also included. There are 70,000 apps available for the new system already via Blackberry World, the firm said, with Skype, Amazon Kindle and Angry Birds amongst those committed to the system.

Mr Heins also revealed Canadian firm RIM will immediately rebrand itself as BlackBerry in line with its biggest product..

The Z10 will be available from Thursday in the UK, the first country in the world where it will be on sale, Mr Heins said. It will run on the EE, Vodafone, O2 and 3 networks and be available from Carphone Warehouse and Phones4U. It will also be enabled to run on 4G, the next generation of high-speed mobile internet. The Q10 is expected to arrive in April.

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