It’s been a long time coming, but after literally years of waiting, the time has finally arrived for BlackBerry 10, the next big chapter in RIM’s smartphone story. The company coordinated an ambitious multinational launch event for the debut of its new OS, and beyond the main stage in Toronto, RIM has simultaneous events going on in London, New York, Johannesburg, Paris, and Dubai. With a global audience watching on, CEO Thorsten Heins took to the stage to formally announce the arrival of BlackBerry 10: “BlackBerry 10 is here!”

Heins began by discussing just what sort of users RIM designed BlackBerry 10 for, and makes it clear that this platform is looking far beyond the old BlackBerry stigma of smartphones for businessmen, highlighting the attention that social networking has been given on the new platform. Ultimately, the company is envisioning a user base that’s just as personal as professional.

RIM seems to have caught a bit of the “everything’s connected” vibe that was going around the CES this year, and has its own sights on BlackBerry 10 connecting with all the other electronic devices in our lives, from cars to smart houses.

In a bit of an unexpected turn, Heins announced that RIM is dropping its name in favor of simply becoming “BlackBerry”, explaining, “it is one brand, it is one promise… From today on, we are BlackBerry everywhere in the world.”

Instead of the Z10 and the X10, like we expected, we instead saw the debut of the Z10 and hardware-QWERTY Q10. The Z10 will be available as of tomorrow in some nations, while others will have well over a month to wait for its arrival. The Q10 is due out sometime in April.

As expected, we got to see a lot of the new software features BlackBerry 10 has to offer; check out the above link to our Z10 coverage for a look at the new software keyboard. BlackBerry Balance is the company’s tool to help keep your work and private lives separate, and extends even into how you see apps in BlackBerry World. The camera software offers tons of gesture control, letting you tap-and-drag ro focus or tap anywhere on the screen to take a pic. For video, BlackBerry’s including its Story Maker, with some basic editing and effect tools.

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