BlackBerry. It was THE name in mobile phones for the business world since 2003 when introduced the first successful smartphone to offer push email, mobile telephone, text messaging, Internet faxing, Web browsing and other wireless information services. It’s superb security and excellent email application made a device that no serious professional would be without, but that was back in 2003. Now RIM is holding onto one last hope to save their drowning company, BlackBerry 10.
Research In Motion, or RIM, had the perfect recipe for success, a quality mobile operating system paired with sleek and savvy hardware. They were dominating in their field for years with nearly no competition to worry about, at least until Apple decided to announce their own smartphone in 2007. That was the beginning to a new era in mobile technology and, unfortunately, RIM didn’t take notice of this threat until much too late.
Apple’s iPhone was a whole new ball game for the smartphone market; it had an amazing 3.5-inch touchscreen that just worked, an awesome web browsing experience, email, and a terrific touchscreen keyboard. Compared to BlackBerry’s small screen navigated by the tiny trackpad and minuscule physical keyboard, the iPhone was a smartphone of the future; the only thing keeping BlackBerry ahead at that point was its secure and trusted OS, but that wouldn’t last for long.
Soon other players started to join the game, like Google’s Android OS as an open playground for the ultimate customization and allowed multiple manufacturers to produce their own hardware to fit this new OS. And as Google introduced the world to Android, Apple kept improving the iPhone and iOS to peak performance and security. It was the tipping point for RIM and they needed to start joining in on the new touchscreen trend.
The BlackBerry Storm was the first touchscreen smartphone from RIM and was released in 2008 running OS version 4.7. It had some decent hardware to go toe-to-toe with the iPhone and various Android devices on the market, but the OS was just not ready yet. It was essentially the normal BlackBerry OS with a touchscreen mask on top without Wifi capabilities and that was just not good enough. It made due with it’s normal QWERTY devices in the business market but was losing tread fast so RIM decided it was time to get serious.
BB10 has been in production for quite a long time now, if you couldn’t tell by their current version of OS7, and is already a year and a half late. It is something that has all previous fans of BlackBerry and mobile developers craving for shiny new OS to play with. So far there have been two BB10 Jams within the year for BlackBerry developers to get their on BB10 Dev Alpha phones running the latest update of what RIM has so far, and ,from the brief preview available in numerous online videos, it is quite an eyeful.
In the latest update from BB10 Jams in San Jose this past week, OS looks quite sleek and sexy even if the hardware doesn’t. It gives off the impression of a mix of the other popular mobile operating systems on the market. Upon the swipe up to open, you get a live tile view of open applications and you just swipe over from there to see a grid of all your applications, and swiping down from the top reveals the system setting. RIM adds it own touch to the mix in what it does best, messaging; BBM is one of the greatest messaging platforms that has been challenged only by Apple’s iMessages.
One homescreen you can swipe to shows all your social activity in one place, messages, emails, Twitter mentions, Facebook notifications, and whatever else you decide to add, and BB10’s so-called Octopus keyboard should make responding to all these things quicker than ever. Displayed above is the Octopus keyboard, which essentially predicts what word you are trying to type and allows to just swipe up on it to type it out whole. There are various other unique features BB10 offers, but they may be just a bit too late.
iPhones have started to flood the business sector and Android devices galore being introduced every month, even Microsoft is preparing to launch Windows Phone 8 in the coming months. So when is BB10 going to be seen in its final form? The current course of action for RIM is to have their first BB10 devices out by early 2013, which means they are losing the holiday rush but have plenty of PR plans to make up for it.
They want celebrities, like Lady Gaga, and everyday people to use their newest to device to do amazing things so they can show these feats at the release and prove they have succeeded in this long awaited OS. They have incentives like the 10k Developer Commitment program to attract developers back to the BB platform and have a full app store of BB10 apps ready upon release.
This could be the epic comeback of a once great king of mobile technology and help them survive in the brutal world of smartphones, or it could be a crushing fail that finally puts the Canadian company out of its misery and sells off its assets to the competitors. So will you be rooting for the underdog or continue being satisfied with iOS, Android, and WP8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.