NEWS ANALYSIS: BlackBerry is fuming over the theft of internal product info information. Still, a site showing off the unreleased OS couldn't be a better cheerleader for the BlackBerry brand.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen took to the company's blog
March 26 to announce that BlackBerry's "fighting spirit" includes legally fileting anyone inside or outside of the company who leaks corporate secrets.
Someone, wrote Chen, "falsely posed as an employee of one of our carrier partners to obtain access to secured networks." They then "stole confidential information about a future BlackBerry product and made that information public."
To the Internet! (Hey, was this all a plan to get BlackBerry trending ahead of its earnings announcement, Friday, March 28?)
So, what did they steal?
points out, is showing what are said to be leaked images of BlackBerry 10.3, the company's future OS update.
According to the images, or screengrabs, BlackBerry 10.3 will include the following:
— An Advanced Interaction feature that "uses sensors on the device to enhance [the] overall user experience."
This includes the phone automatically turning on when it's lifted from a flat surface (a feature that could help extend the battery, if it's like a power-saving feature on the HTC One M8
that eliminates the need for users to press the power button to see the time). Likewise, a user will be able to put a BlackBerry to sleep by placing it face down on a flat surface (a feature that is indeed intended to improve battery life, per the image).
— There are a slew of camera upgrades, including a timer and the ability to set the size and proportion of an image before taking it. Instead of toggling between video and camera options, a red record button is present and a user can tap it to start recording or tap the screen to take a photo.
— Design changes have been made to the keyboard, which appears more minimalist and includes the addition of red to its black/gray/white color palette.
— BlackBerry's Search feature has been upgraded into a digital assistant of the Siri variety.
— On the home screen, the gray boxes around icons have been removed, for a brighter, more modern look. And all around, the look has been flattened out and cleaned up.
, someone named James gives a quick walk-through of 10.3's features, often holding up a second BlackBerry running BlackBerry 10.0 to compare.
Showing off the camera, James says that a panorama feature "works really, really well—BlackBerry nailed it." The browser, he adds, is "lightning fast," and an Automatic Stories feature that uses face recognition and geo-location data to automatically build photo albums is a "really smart, engaging way to do that."
While James shouldn't yet have his hands on 10.3, Chen couldn't ask for a better cheerleader for the brand than the young, hip (likely, most of BlackBerry's enterprise users don't have wallpaper that says Funky Fresh), fast-talking James.
That said, Chen would prefer to introduce new BlackBerry features himself.
"I recognize that, in some cases, the leaks reflect people's genuine interest in BlackBerry. There are a lot of people whose enthusiasm for our company and our products makes them want to know what we will do next—and that can be a tremendous asset for us," Chen wrote in his post.
"But when curiosity turns to criminality, we must take strong action."
For those willing to take the plunge and download this very early version of the OS (James calls it a baby, only about a month old), BlackBerry Empire
is offering a link.
This is a "very early" version, BBE
warns, adding in all caps: "THERE WILL BE BUGS."
There may also be consequences.
Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.