BlackBerry announced Wednesday that Alicia Keys has become the company's new Global Creative Director. Keys was brought on board to "lead an array of new business initiatives that will drive engagement with BlackBerry and perception of the brand," according to the press release
Keys made an appearance at the tail end of a press event in New York at which BlackBerry unveiled two new phones than run the new BlackBerry 10 operating system. The Q10 has the physical keyboard that BlackBerry devices are known for. The Z10 has a touch screen similar to an iPhone.
At the event, Keys unveiled BlackBerry's "Keep Moving Project" that aims to engage users in exclusive content by writers, designers, musicians, filmmakers and athletes. Joining Keys as the first three partners in the project will be filmmaker Robert Rodriguez and author Neil Gaiman.
The press event garnered significant media attention and live coverage from tech blogs. Time will tell if Keys will be able to help change the public's perception of BlackBerry and thus help change the company's fortunes. One thing was immediately clear, however: investors were not impressed with the two new phones. Research in Motion (the company's Nasdaq ticker is still RIMM) shares were down 5.7% in midday trading.
The struggling company, which officially changed its named from Research in Motion on Wednesday to BlackBerry, could use whatever assistance Keys can lend. Its share of the U.S. smartphone market dropped to 7.3% in November 2012, according to comScore. On a global basis, the company's share of smartphones dropped to 4.2% in the third quarter from 9.8% a year earlier, according to Canalys.