The highlight of the BlackBerry 10 launch this morning wasn't so much the new phones and the new operating system as the man who MC-ed the pre-show, a cheesy opening act that turned out to be a precursor to an event full of desperate gimmicks. Part game-show host and part Bar Mitzvah pump-up guy, this as yet unknown man (pictured above) used his sultry voice and TV good looks to set the tone for a company that was very much acknowledging this latest round of mobile innovation could be its last hurrah — or the beginning of a bold, weird new relevancy. And even if those strong new hardware and software offerings from BlackBerry turn out to be popular and bring back the company from the depths of iPhone and Galaxy dominance, today's event really could be BlackBerry's last moment of relevancy when it comes to cultural cool. With layoffs, slow sales, and loss of caché among users, BlackBerry has seen a quick deterioration in the age of the smartphone. The company's rebranding, as simply BlackBerry, came with an outward appearance not of confidence so much as outright desperation.
Things got weird even before CEO Thorsten Heins took the stage. The MC led us through not one but two cheesy people-who-love-BlackBerry videos, one of which featured a fake bumper-sticker campaign: "Honk if you want BlackBerry 10."
After a late-night-TV-style interview with Alec Saunders, the man who worked so hard to woo developers, our MC gave a haircut tothe editor of Crackberry.com, known as "CrackBerry Kevin" — who is the last remaining BlackBerry fanatic, it seems. Kevin had vowed that he would not cut his hair until the arrival of BlackBerry 10. With this being the big (weird) debut event and all, Kevin stepped right up and got his ponytail hacked off onstage, complete with his "#1 BlackBerry Fanboy" shirt: