BlackBerry Messenger Updates Leak Online, Show Designs for Long Battery Life

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-06-26 Print this article Print

Images said to be leaked slides of BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry 10 explain how color choices can better take advantage of an OLED display and extend battery life. It's a bit of good news for a suffering RIM.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion has said that it has spectacular things planned for BlackBerry 10. If images posted June 26 by tech site N4BB, said to be leaked slides of BlackBerry Messenger on BlackBerry 10, are the real deal, then those things include smart design changes for improving battery life. 

The slides show darker-colored BBM themes€”one in gray and blue and another a mustardy-lime on a black background€”said to help keep the battery going strong.

€œBy a slight adaptation to a black theme, battery consumption can be decreased [by approximately 25 percent],€ says the caption under one image.

The blue-and-gray theme takes this further. The caption notes, €œRevisiting the screen and further optimizing for the OLED-display, decreases battery consumption [by approximately 75 percent] compared to the direct translation.€

At RIM€™s BlackBerry World 2012 event May 1, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins was effusive in his descriptions of the long-coming BlackBerry 10 platform.

€œEverything flows €¦€ he told the audience during his keynote, after calling Vivek Bhardwaj, head of software at RIM, onto the stage to show off what he€™d been working on. The platform featured a sort of accordion design in which all the open apps could be shifted through and seen at once.

€œWe are making you really agile and nimble with BlackBerry. That is the design paradigm,€ said Heins.

Bhardwaj also showed off improvements to the BlackBerry keyboard. As he typed, words hovered over his fingertips. With a gentle, upward swipe of a finger, he could send the correct word up into his correspondence. With time, the keyboard comes to know the user, so word suggestions become more accurate.

€œWe€™re increasing responsiveness, reducing latency, making sure you can type fast and accurately,€ said Bhardwaj.

The audience also seemed impressed by the ability to slightly pull aside, say, an email application€”as though pushing a curtain halfway€”to take a peek at the app behind it, perhaps a Twitter page. 

€œNo app stops. They layer, and you can slide back and forth. That is the power of BlackBerry 10€”no one else can do this,€ said Heins.

Whether BlackBerry 10€”and the Alpha Dev smartphone that will run it€”will impress when it finally arrives during the fourth quarter of this year is less contested than whether it€™ll simply be too late. Samsung is enjoying strong sales growth, particularly with its newly released Galaxy S III, and the Alpha Dev introduction may coincide with the release of a new Apple iPhone.  

In an attempt to cut costs and streamline, RIM has been laying off workers, and it recently hired financial advisors. In the last days, it has also fielded rumors that it€™s considering splitting its handset business from its services business. RIM denies those rumors€”or, perhaps more accurately, has skirted them. 

During RIM€™s fourth-quarter earnings call, Heins said the company was examining ways to leverage its assets through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives€”the latter of which could support a number of interpretations.

When asked for clarity, a RIM spokesperson said on June 25 that Heins€™ statement €œremains true.€

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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