TODAY   |  January 31, 2013

BlackBerry unveils new phone, company name

The heads of Research in Motion, the makers of BlackBerry phones, have decided it’s time for a company makeover, complete with a new name and new phone. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports and BlackBerry president and CEO Thorsten Hines talk about the company overhaul.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> could be blackberry 's attempt to come back with two new smartphones. we'll talk to that company's ceo but first, stephanie has more on the newest challenger to the iphone .

>> good morning. smartphone technology has moved so fast the last decade, seems there is a must have every couple of months. blackberry has struggled to keep up and now their business depends on this phone. one journalist calls it their hail mary pass . research in motion has a new pho phone, one they probably should have had from the beginning. blackberry .

>> it is blackberry , and they had a bad reptution the last few years.

>> reporter: it dropped from 20% in 21 to only 4.6% in 2012 . the technological eternity has passed since its launch. notice matt lauer innocent wonder in 2000 .

>> you love this thing called the blackberry ?

>> i love it. this has replaced my laptop. it's essentially an e-mail pager.

>> it didn't take long for sales to take off, the blackberry became the crackberry and then came the iphone and samsung's whole line of smartphones. president obama with a blackberry is more an exception. his daughters and their iphones are now the rule. for many holdouts, the attraction of the old blackberry was the keypad. they have been reluctant to give it up for touchscreens. in nbc news, this are plenty of holdouts. this is the nerve center of "nightly news." a blackberry there. one puns with an iphone in the corner. the anchor and managing editor, he uses both.

>> i would like to, like the reese's peanut butter commercial, combine these two devices.

>> reporter: turns out using both isn't uncommon.

>> i use both of them interchangeably. sometimes a matter of which one i can find in my purse.

>> reporter: nbc luck russert found a lot of dual users on capitol hill .

>> reporter: how long have you had your blackberry ?

>> probably 10 years an iphone about five.

>> reporter: why do you hold on to both of them?

>> the iphone personal and blackberry for work because the iphone can't handle a high volume of e-mail when it's time sensitive.

>> reporter: blackberry says it has the solution, the same reliable work force but now cool enough to hang with the competition.

>> blackberry has two new versions of the phone, one with touchscreen and one with a keypad. the touchscreen will learn how you type to make it more accurate. for those that need the buttons or as brian williams , the peanut buttercup of phones is a blackberry with keyboard, too.

>> thanks. the guy who has a lot riding on this is torsten hineins, the ceo of blackberry . good to have you here.

>> the critics that have look at this device really like it, think you have real innovations. the bad news is they say things like hail mary pass , this is a long shot. is this a do or die moment for the company?

>> it is a very important milestone for the company. what we did was not just develop new devices, but have a new computing platform . we're looking more into the future than just the next devices. this is personal computing power.

>> we have the devices here. i want you to show the future in a second. but i have to take you back. there was a time if you had a blackberry and cup of coffee at starbuc starbucks, you were cool. what went wrong? have you stopped to analyze what went wrong?

>> it wasn't what went wrong, we had success and what happened was we were too static in our recipe we used to build blackberries. we have changed that with blackberry 10.

>> let's look at this device. one of the big innovations is what you call "the hub." can you explain that?

>> that's easy and fantastic. the hub is just a collection of all your inflow, all your communications channels, all your social network , notifications. the good thing about it, if i want to respond to a facebook twitter or link message, i can do it outside the hub without opening any applications.

>> like a split screen ?

>> not a split screen , just a great unified in-box, if i want to respond to facebook message, i hit it and respond and don't have to open the facebook application. you take immediate action without leaving the hub.

>> another cool feature, typing an e-mail. it thinks ahead, if you type in ll okay, it immediately gives you a choice in the bottom of the screen, looking and you can thumb it right up and like others do, it gives you other words you might want to use to complete a sentence. in other words, it's doing the writing for you in some ways.

>> we call this writing without typing. i read the review yesterday that said this is mind-boggling or even kind of freaky. yeah. the device learns you, learns your personality, learns how you spell, build grammar. i'm a german and knows i'm german english and good for me, too. a fantastic feature. after one week it knows you.

>> let's talk about the camera, very important, as somebody who blinks in a lot of photos explain how this new camera could potentially eradicate that.

>> ever tried to take a picture of three kids eyes open and napping? we have a great technology we call time shift that allows you to set the scene correctly over three seconds and then you can edit the faces and really create the picture you want.

>> get the best face on all three kids at the very same time using the original photo?

>> absolutely.

>> alishia keys, your creative directors admitted she actually broke up with the blackberry for a while because it didn't have enough bling. do these things, mr. heins, have enough bling to get people back from their iphones and droids.

>> absolutely. we have alecia back. and we changed the user interface , easy to use, just flowing. you don't have to go in and out of applications anymore, does what you want it to do.

>> very quickly, the keyboard, for many blackberry devotees, this is the redeeming quality, why we hold on to our blackberry keyboard. will you keep that option for the future?

>> absolutely. absolutely. we have so many diehard keyboard lovers for blackberry , we won't let that go.

>> talk about a throwback. this is the one i use to call in air support . air travel on hill 4. all right, mr. heins, good luck to you and the newly named blackberry company. nice to have you here.