We're in Toronto for Research In Motion's highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 launch event.
Stay tuned for live coverage of RIM's event throughout the day. (Timestamps are EST.)
9:55am: Just got the announcement that the "BlackBerry Experience" will begin in five minutes and for everyone to take their seats.
10:05: The event begins by showing a video of carriers and partners praising the BlackBerry 10. "BlackBerry 10 is the best mobile computing platform out there," one says. The hosts of the Toronto launch event are Canadian Managing Director Andrew MacLeod and CFO Brian Bidulka.
10:15: Alec Saunders, vice president of developer relations, says RIM hosted "port-a-thon" events. 15,000 apps were ported in one weekend at one of these events—"The largest catalog of at launch applications for any platform ever."
10:20: Lil'E has written a rap song about BB10.
10:25: Kevin Michaluk of CrackBerry.com has been growing his hair for the past year, saying that he wouldn't cut it until BlackBerry 10 launched. Today they snipped off his ponytail.
10:30: Chief executive officer Thorsten Heins takes the stage in New York. "Today is not the finish, it is just the starting line," he says. "We will soon give you more ways to connect your mobile experience to not just other people, but the whole world around you. We will be a leader in connecting you to your internet of things."
10:35: Huge announcement from Thorsten—"From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry." One brand now. RIM is even changing its stock symbols: BBRY for NASDAQ, BB for TSX.
10:40: And the new new BB10 smartphones are unveiled. The Z10 (all touch) and the Q10 (physical keyboard). The material used for them was made exclusively for BB10. It's stronger, thinner, and lighter than plastic, Thorsten says. Here are the device specifications of the Z10:
Size: 130mm x 65.6mm x 9mm
Dispay: 4.2-inch LCD display, 1280 x 768 resolution at 356 pixels per inch
Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB Flash, hot-swappable Micro SD slot (up to 32GB)
Processor: Dual core 1.5 GHz
Camera: 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, 5x digital zoom, 1080p HD video recording and 2MP front-facing camera with 3x digital zoom, 720p HD video recording.
10:45: Vivek Bhardwaj, head of software, starts demonstrating "Flow" and "Peak" and "Hub" on the Z10. The interface is highly gesture-based, where most tasks can be completed quickly and efficient with a single thumb or finger.
10:50: Vivek shows off Balance, the software that allows enterprise and personal devices to both exist on a single BlackBerry. Users can switch modes with a single gesture; apps for work are fully segregated from personal apps.
10:55: BlackBerry Messenger now has video chat and screen sharing options.
11:00: There is also a new feature called BlackBerry remember, with is short of like Evernote (it also syncs with Evernote). Looks handy.
Also: there is indeed a white version of the Z10!
11:05: The 8MP camera includes a built-in editor with cropping, rotation, borders, enhancing, filtering, etc. Slick interface controlled with gestures. Has Time Shift to go back in time to get a better photo (in case someone blinks, for example). Related to the camera is Story Maker, which can transform the photos and videos on your device into a neat little movie. You can add music and effects to the video within the app in seconds.
11:10: Martin Mallick, VP of Business Development, takes the stage to talk about apps. BlackBerry kept its promise: the platform has over 70,000 apps at launch, the most of any mobile platform ever. Some apps RIM has: Skype, Amazon Kindle, WhatsApp, Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Rdio, Box, and more.
11:15:The BlackBerry 10 can be preordered across North America today. It will launch in March in the US but Canada gets it on February 5. It will cost $149 on a three year contract in Canada.
11:20: BlackBerry hires Alicia Keys for the new role of Creative Director. She says she's always wanted to work for a technology company but was waiting for the perfect opportunity. Keys will work closely with carriers, app designers, and content creators in her position.