Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

BlackBerry goes glam, enlists Alicia Keys

The smartphone maker names the singer as its global creative director to help "inspire the future" of the company.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins greets Alicia Keys as the company's new global creative director. Sarah Tew/CNET
BlackBerry wants to be hip, and it's going to Alicia Keys for help.

The Canadian smartphone maker, which previously called itself Research In Motion, today named Keys as its global creative director. The position is one BlackBerry created to help "inspire the future" of the company.

Keys said she previously was a BlackBerry power user, but she left the platform after noticing sexier phones at the gym. For a while she had two phones, but Keys has now moved back to just a BlackBerry.

It's typical for companies to seek endorsements for their products, and some have even named celebrities to positions within the company. Intel, for example, named singer Will.i.am as its director of creative innovation. Typically, such artists show up at various company events, in ads, and just generally talk up the products.

BlackBerry today launched a new operating system and two new devices that it hopes will attract users back to its platform. The company has faced steep market share loss to Apple and Android handset vendors, and BlackBerry 10 is viewed by many to be the company's last shot at winning over buyers.