08 May Blackberry World 2012: RIM in the clear or all down hill from here?
RIM’s inaugural Blackberry World Conference was held last week in Florida and showcased a variety of new mobile developments by the Canadian company.
While the Blackberry Integrated Porsche and Police Car, and the announced release of the 4G playbook later this year were quite exciting, the real show stopper was the preview of Blackberry 10 OS. Many view BB 10 OS and the company’s next smartphone as RIM’s last chance to stay in the mobility race. While Blackberry 10 boasts a range of impressive features, whether this will be enough to be the saving grace of RIM is yet to be seen, particularly when the company’s shares plummeted more than 15% in three days following BB World 2012, an eight year low.
A Dev Alpha smartphone loaded with a modified Playbook OS (“to show the path to the Blackberry 10OS”) was given to every developer at the conference to help them build or test applications for the software before its release. Most of the developers were impressed with RIM’s latest offering in OS, particularly its cascade framework. For users, the interest will lie within its intuitive virtual keyboard and the software’s ability to go ‘back in time’ to capture the perfect photo.
Many of the developers have noted how much resemblance the Dev Alpha has to the Blackberry Playbook. It has the same industrial design, the same hardware buttons and a similar screen resolution: 1280 x 768, but of course the Dev Alpha has a much smaller screen at 4.2 inches.
Other features included in the Dev Alpha are:
[list style=”list1″ color=”green”]
- 16GB built-in storage
- front and rear-facing camera
- Micro SIM slot for cellular connectivity (quad-band HSPA+)
- Fixed battery (cannot be removed or replaced)
- Micro HDMI port
- Micro USB port for charging
- The most notable feature; lack of physical keyboard
While RIM has emphasized that the Dev Alpha is nowhere near the final product;
the virtual keyboard in particular certainly does suggest a radical change from previous BB handsets, something RIM needs to survive in the market. Blackberry fans can rest assured though that the company will not ditch the physical keyboard, with Heins stating
So what exactly can we expect from RIM and its devices in the future?
[list style=”list1″ color=”green”]
- Intuitive Virtual Keyboard: While the physical keyboard is one of the defining features of Blackberry handsets, the virtual keyboard not only learns how you type, but also presents an intuitive prediction feature, which displays the predicted words on the keyboard which you swipe up to use. Other gestures are incorporated into the keyboard such as swiping across the keyboard to delete words and swiping down to add symbols.
- Great Camera: BB10 will feature a smart camera that allows users to take photos by tapping anywhere, as well as allowing for users to choose the best shot with a timeline scrubber that shows captured moments before and after each captured shot. Essentially, you can go back in time to capture a smile or open eyes.
- Multitasking: Taking a page from the Playbook, BB10 will incorporate intuitive gestures activated by touching the bezel to streamline multitasking, particularly switching between apps.
- Developer Friendly: BB 10 will support Android apps, as well as HTML5, Air Flash and CSS.
- Gaming: The company emphasized BB10’s gaming strength, with “console- quality” games to debut with BB10 (such as N.O.V.A 3 or Galaxy Fire HD). Users will also be able to port games from BB10 to the Playbook in as little as one day, which will help grow the number of apps for both platforms.
While the demonstrations were certainly impressive, can BB 10 be RIM’s saving grace? Many Critics are sceptical.
For a sneak peek at Blackberry 10 OS check out the video below: