FINALLY! BlackBerry 10 coming out this year, with two smartphones

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It has taken this long to get BlackBerry 10 out the door – and now, we’ve finally got devices and a date. The company – formerly known as RIM (they have become Blackberry) – will release two new smartphones: the Z10 (on the left), featuring a touchscreen; and the Q10 (the right), with its traditional BlackBerry form-factor.

The Z10 features a 4.2-inch display with 356ppi; with 16GB of internal storage (with microSD card slot to expand the storage) and an 8-megapixel rear camera. The Q10, however, also adds a touchscreen but includes the physical QWERTY keyboard; and does come with 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot. Both phones include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 4G connectivity and NFC support.

The new BlackBerry 10 operating system features a gesture-based interface (basically similar to MeeGo – remember that? No?). New features include BlackBerry Flow, which makes going between apps seamlessly – like seeing an event attendee’s tweet; a new Hub which will manage all of the conversations; and Balance, which will separate both work and life applications.

For the camera, there are two new features – Time Shift, which lets you quickly edit the faces of your subjects to find the best one; and Sotry Maker, where you can make your own HD movie on the fly with videos and photos captured on the device.

There is new support for Exchange ActiveSync, a brand new web browser with HTML5 support, and a brand new BlackBerry Messenger app that includes voice calling, video chat, and screen sharing. In terms of apps, BlackBerry World already has 70,000 BlackBerry 10 apps in the market with Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and – yes – Angry Birds. (I know Chris will hate that).

And while it does look nice – BlackBerry 10 has a lot of ground to make up, especially given that it was delayed for an entire year. Whilst they can dream, there is no way they will beat Android and iOS. The closest rival to RIM/BlackBerry is Windows Phone 8, and it already has been out since October with some spectacular good hardware and, crucially, in many markets.

No word on Australian availability – we’re expecting to hear from them today. In the UK, the Z10 comes out tomorrow; while it comes out in Canada and UAE in early February. They say that the phone should be out in March for the US. The Q10 is expected to launch on April.

In terms of business decisions, the BlackBerry team now have added Alicia Keys to their team as their Global Creative Director. She will be working closely with developers, content creators, Hollywood and content creators to “enhance” BlackBerry 10; and also to promote the new phone. Also being roped into promoting BlackBerry 10 include Robert Rodriguez and Neil Gaiman – and all three will be “leveraging the power” of BlackBerry 10 “to create original content and special user engagements.”

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