Around four months after the launch of the Z10, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage at the BlackBerry Live event to tie together the company's consumer and enterprise stories, and to expand on his mobile computing vision.
The biggest takeaway: BlackBerry is doubling down on its strengths -- including midrange phones and device management -- and has enough confidence to open up parts of its business to other platforms.
Here's a rundown of what was announced today.
Hero phones aren't for everyone
While hero phones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy lineup may get all the press, they're not for everyone. It's the midrange devices that capture the vast majority of sales, and that market drove much of BlackBerry's international expansion and cemented its entry-smartphone role in more mature markets.
With this in mind, Heins unveiled a new, lower-cost 4G BlackBerry device, the Q5. It's a hybrid QWERTY device with a 3.1-inch touchscreen, available in a range of bright colors. Heins noted that IDC is predicting that by 2016, the global mobile workforce will be over 1.3 billion, giving BlackBerry an opportunity to deliver the mobile-first computing experience that that the next generation of mobile workers will be looking for.
Existing BB10 devices won't be left behind. The Z10 will be upgraded to the new 10.1 release of BB10, adding support for HDR photography, along with improvements to the Hub notifications service. The 10.1 release will also add features needed to support Skype, which will be released for the Z10 as well as for the Q10. International devices will be upgraded to 10.1 over the next week, with U.S. devices to follow shortly. BlackBerry device updates used to be rare, so a commitment to regular updates is an important change, and one that's necessary in the fast- moving mobile space.