Research In Motion is changing its name to BlackBerry, a move it hopes will signify a fresh start for the company.
The surprise name change, which takes effect immediately, was announced by CEO Thorsten Heins at an event in New York to launch the company’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system and smartphones.
“Our customers use the BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry. From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world,” he said at the event, which was broadcast.
RIM is changing its stock ticker symbols to reflect the new name. On the Nasdaq it will use BBRY and on the Toronto Stock Exchange will use BB.
The Canadian smartphone company has been fighting to stay relevant after being outflanked by Apple, with its iPhone, and Google, whose Android operating system is used in popular phones from Samsung and other vendors.
The launch of its BlackBerry 10 OS and new smartphones is seen by many as a crucial, make-or-break moment for the company.
Heins took over as CEO last January and has spent the past year planning for Wednesday’s launch. The company appointed a new global leadership team this year and has “transformed itself inside and out,” he said.
“The new starting line that today represents begins with one consistent brand, a brand that recognized around the world. And BlackBerry has changed. And we have redesigned the BlackBerry experience, we have reengineered our products, we have reinvented this company and we want to reflect this in our brand.”
Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.