Research In Motion is officially getting its act together and starting to show that it wants to compete far more effectively in the mobile space. The company on May 1 unveiled more details on BlackBerry 10 and released it to developers who want to start building applications for the platform. The mobile firm also showed off a prototype handset running BlackBerry 10 that it is using in the development process.
For developers and investors, May 1 was an exciting day. RIM had been keeping BlackBerry 10 and its associated plans close to the vest, causing some to second-guess whether the company had what it takes to be successful in the mobile market again. Now that RIM has shown at least a bit more of its hand, it may be able to at least slow the defections of BlackBerry users until they get a look at BlackBerry 10 production models later this year.
But now a host of BlackBerry 10 details are already out there, and anyone interested in the future of RIM and its BlackBerry smartphones should learn all about them to make the most informed buying decisions.
1. Touch screen-only to start
Interestingly, RIM decided against showing off a physical keyboard with BlackBerry 10. The move was a not-so-subtle confirmation of earlier reports claiming the company would onlylaunch touch screen-based BlackBerry 10 devices this year. Its a nice departure for RIM, but those who want physical keys shouldnt worry: Theyre likely launching those models next year.
2. The Pull gesture is rather neat
One of the biggest issues with mobile platforms today is the inability to quickly glance at a window behind the one thats active. With BlackBerry 10s pull gesture, users will be able to slide the active window aside and take a glance at another. Its something other companies, like Apple, should consider bringing to their platform.
3. The camera improvements are huge
Arguably the biggest enhancement to BlackBerry 10 is its camera feature. The camera has the ability to record several versions of the same image the instant a picture is taken. This gives users the ability in effect to go back in time to edit and change the image. Users can tap any place on the photo to see how that particular part of an image looked in an earlier slice of time. So, for example, if you take a photo of a person who closed his or her eyes at the moment the camera flashed, its possible to tap the eyes to go back to a slightly earlier version when the persons eyes were open. Neat, huh?
4. RIM is focusing on developers
RIM has made it clear that developers are taking center stage with BlackBerry 10. In fact, the company on May 1 launched its toolkit in beta to help developers start creating applications for the operating system. The launch also includes support for Cascades, which RIM says, should help developers create far more graphically rich apps.
Where Will the Enterprise Factor In?
5. RIM has sights set on Apple
Its no secret thatRIM has its sights set on Apple with BlackBerry 10. The operating system is designed for touch screens, the test device comes with a big touch display, and the company is trying to woo consumers. Apples iPhone is officially in RIMs crosshairs. But will RIM be able to catch up?
6. Uniqueness is an issue
The issue with taking on Apples iPhone and iOS is that it sometimes makes competitors look like a copycat. After all, how many different ways can a company develop a gesture for zooming in on text or answering a phone call? Other observers noted that BlackBerry 10 looks remarkably like Windows Phone 7. While BlackBerry 10 does have features that are unique in its own right, the average consumer who doesnt know the ins and outs of the software will think that RIM is using the Windows Phone 7 look and feel to catch up to Apple. And thats not necessarily good.
7. Where will the enterprise factor in?
Oddly, RIM didnt spend too much of its time talking about the corporate world at its first day at BlackBerry World.And its decisions with BlackBerry 10namely, bundling the software with full touch-screen support and no physical keyboard to bootseems to indicate a more consumer-driven focus. RIM isnt turning its back on the enterprise, of course, but itll have to make that clear to the corporate world sooner rather than later.
8. Licensing is a possibility
According to the latest reports on BlackBerry 10, RIM might have decided to make the operating system a bit more consumer-friendly than past versions to entice other vendors to license it and offer it on their own devices. RIM wont say that, of course, but it certainly seems to make some sense. RIM cant beat Apple or Google without licensing its operating system.
9. Simplicity reigns supreme
One of the nicest things about BlackBerry 10at least from the images and videosis that its simple to use. RIM has found ways to make it easy for users to access applications, stream content to a television and more. Simplicity reigns supreme on BlackBerry 10, and that should be celebrated.
10. RIM is still RIM
Sadly, RIM is still, well, RIM. Although the company has high hopes for BlackBerry 10 andthe software is a sizable jump over BlackBerry 7, theres nothing compelling in it that would make Apple or Google fans want to switch. RIMs inherent issue is a general inability to show a unique value proposition. And unfortunately for the company, it failed at that once again with BlackBerry 10.