BlackBerry10 Is a Finish Line of Sorts

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-08-24 Print this article Print

What exactly can we expect when they reach it?

"What you can expect is a whole new BlackBerry experience and user paradigm," said Heins. He continued:

There's a lot of consumer and corporate research on how do people use their devices. ... That led to a whole new user design for the flow of the applications. So, right now, if you look at [competitors'] devices, you have the tiled screen or you have the icons. What do you do [if you need information], you call an app. Work within that app, want to do something different? Back, new app. Need to do something else? Back, new app. What BlackBerry 10 will do for you is stop this paradigm of 'in-out,' as we call it, and through multi-tasking, real-time capabilities will allow you to flow across those applications.

Late in their tenures, former RIM CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie earned reputations for under-delivering on big promises. So it seemed particularly worrisome for RIM when analysts with investment firm Jefferies released an Aug. 7 research note saying they'd tried BlackBerry 10 on the Dev Alpha-a prototype smartphone RIM gave developers at BlackBerry World-and found it to be "certainly an improvement over BB7," about equal to Android 4.1 and "highly unlikely ... to be an improvement over iOS 6."

Therefore, they added, "we see little chance RIM can take share away from Apple with BB10."

Heins waved away the idea.

"It doesn't reflect the experience-it's not actually BlackBerry 10. It's a prototype, meant to drive content," said Heins. When the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet came out, developers asked that next time they be given a device in advance, so that they could prepare apps before the launch, he explained. Thus, the Dev Alpha.

Another area where RIM has under-delivered has been its touch-based interfaces. The QWERTY keyboard-an area where RIM has excelled and still controls the market-is a very enterprise-geared feature. To shake that label, RIM will need to do touch just as well.

"We are going to set the bar for other touch devices," said Heins. "We've spent a lot of innovation on the full-touch virtual keypad," said Heins. "That was huge. We want the typing experience on the [touch-based BlackBerry] to get at least as close as it can to a physical QWERTY."

The question, then, becomes whether Heins and RIM can make these changes, and make the world fall in love with them, before the company is forced to sell off its assets piecemeal and meet the fate Heins' radio interviewer alluded to.

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.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel