BlackBerry launch lives up to the hype but will the handsets attract new customers?

BlackBerry launch lives up to the hype but will the handsets attract new customers?

As the company's CEO, Thorsten Heins, said: "From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry. It is one brand. It is one promise."

And, based on the demonstrations that followed, the reimagined BlackBerry is promising a lot. The touchscreen Z10 handset boasts a 4.2-inch 356 ppi display, while the Q10, which features BlackBerry's famous solid QWERTY keyboard, has a 3.1-inch touch screen. And while in terms of looks, the handsets both compare favorably with anything Apple or Sony can offer, they both pack a host of features that are currently unavailable on the iPhone or anything that runs Android.

BlackBerry has removed the need for the home button in order to toggle back and forward between apps; the feature, which it calls Flow, also allows users to move between different types of content, displaying groups of apps or active files together, running in real time on a single screen. Meanwhile its Hub feature groups together different alerts, or, in ‘People' mode, groups together contacts on a single screen along with their social media activity and any upcoming calendar events that involve them.

But maybe the feature that will help the company claw its way back into the market will be BlackBerry Balance which, via a single swipe, switches the handset from a personal phone to a business phone. Aimed to take full advantage of the growing trend of Bring Your Own device to work, the handsets use encryption to keep all work and leisure-related content completely separate.

Other well-considered touches include a ‘swipe to delete' function when typing an email and a novel camera function that takes a number of fast photos of the same subject and overlays them as one image to create the optimum photo.

Whether or not these features will be enough to help the company return to its former glories is hard to say. In a YouGov poll carried out in January, 47 percent of respondents said that they were aware that BlackBerry was set to launch a new handset and operating system, but only 13 percent of those polled said that they would consider buying a BlackBerry smartphone.