RIM is hosting its annual gathering in Orlando, and this year's BlackBerry World is of particular importance: the company is taking the wraps off BlackBerry 10, the most fundamental reboot of its smartphone platform in many years. Follow along right here as we cover all the news as it happens.
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We've seen and heard a lot about BlackBerry 10 this week, but if you're a BlackBerry owner excited about the new OS, you're going to have to get ready to invest in a new handset: RIM CEO Thorsten Heins confirmed once again this morning that the company has no upgrade path for existing BlackBerry 7 devices. In fact, the two seemed destined to co-exist: Heins spoke about the new BlackBerry 9220 (and confirmed the existence of the 9320), using their "successful launch" as an example of how RIM is still "onboarding people from featurephones to smartphones," a process that will take the next two years or so. The company seems to see BlackBerry 7 as the OS for its entry-level devices, while BlackBerry 10 will occupy the higher end of the company's range. RIM has promised to upgrade existing PlayBook hardware, but if you're in the market for a BlackBerry you might want to wait and see what BlackBerry 10 brings when it's released later this year.
One of the questions on everyone's mind at BlackBerry World has been how RIM is dividing its focus between enterprise users and regular customers — where does the company see BlackBerry devices being used? CEO Thorsten Heins told a group of reporters during a press briefing that while RIM's still focused on consumers, a core place for growth is going to be in business settings. In response to a question asking essentially how the company feels about enterprise, Heins simply responded that "it absolutely matters. Right now, the external focus on the company is mostly driven by our handset and devices business... There's much more to RIM than just devices." Not only do businesses matter, he said, but it's the among the most important pieces for the company, "because that's where BlackBerrys live best, that's where they really flourish."Read Article >
Enterprise has long been the company's bread and butter, but Heins was clear that there's plenty room for improvement. "When we look at the organization, in the enterprise business, we have a lot of fragmentation across different functions. RIM was not entirely well-connected the way it should have been." He mentioned products like Mobile Fusion as also critical to the company's success, saying "we will push the throttle pedal a bit more. This is clearly an investment area — I just want to be number one in mobile enterprise. It's as simple as that, and that's where BlackBerry 10 becomes important, pushing BlackBerry 10 into the mobile enterprise." He was careful to reiterate that RIM is not leaving the consumer business, but it certainly sounds like the company's also identified another, maybe more valuable, direction.
In a wide-ranging discussion with the press at BlackBerry World, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins addressed our question about his strategy for licensing BlackBerry 10. There are two major opportunities for RIM to license BB10: smartphones and "mobile computing" and in both cases, Heins confirmed that RIM is actively investigating its options.Read Article >
Specifically with regards to smartphones, Heins said that he first would need to "prove BlackBerry 10" with his teams, then engage in other discussions to license it — specifically responding that he wouldn't comment yet on whether he would share it with competitors like Samsung. RIM is investigating its options internally and "with some advice from the outside."
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Evidence has been piling up that RIM is preparing an LTE version of its PlayBook tablet, but rumor no longer: CEO Thorsten Heins let us know this morning at a press briefing at BlackBerry World that there will indeed be an LTE-capable PlayBook "later this year." It appears RIM doesn't have immediate plans to change the PlayBook's hardware in a significant aesthetic way, however — we've heard a couple of times this week that RIM is very happy with the device's hardware, and with existing PlayBooks slated to receive BlackBerry 10 the hardware may well carry over. Details are scant on the LTE device's specs, price, or carrier (we've heard AT&T and Verizon), but it's a clear signal that RIM's moving to add LTE connectivity to its lineup.
CrackBerry reports that there are terms and conditions involved — you can't just submit a completely useless app, sit back, and wait for your $10,000 check to roll in — but it sounds like developers giving it an earnest go will be rewarded in kind.Read Article >
Update: we have more details on the terms and conditions: Apps must be certified to be "quality certified" by a third party and make at least $1,000 in order to qualify for RIM's guarantee.
May 1, 2012
At the BlackBerry World keynote, RIM is currently giving its developer partners an unusually large portion of the spotlight to show off the apps they have built for BlackBerry 10, some in as little as ten days. The apps are designed to show a few things: how easy it is to port apps to BB10 from other platforms, how flexible RIM's developer tools are, and most importantly how the new Cascades framework gives developers a way to create apps that match the look and feel of BB10.Read Article >
We'll update this post live as we see the new apps that RIM's partners are trotting out, but if RIM's own press release is any guide, we should be seeing a list of traditionally loyal BlackBerry developers and a few new faces to the platform. Endomondo, Gameloft, Mippin, Occipital, PixelMags, Poynt, Truphone, and Wikitude were all given a chance to tout their support of BB10 in RIM's release, so we wouldn't be surprised to see any or all of them on stage today.
May 1, 2012
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins just officially launched the "BlackBerry 10 Platform," or everything that makes up the development stack for BB10, including many architectural elements of the PlayBook OS. What's new is something that RIM has only hinted at before: Cascades and the Cascades UI.Read Article >
This is also the first time we've seen any BB10 apps using Cascades, and while RIM's featured app demos weren't anything beyond what we've seen on iOS and Android, the apps themselves looked far more modern and smooth then anything we've seen on BlackBerry previously.
May 1, 2012
RIM may finally be ready to begin showing BlackBerry 10 to users, but right now the company has another priority: getting developers on board with the new platform. To that end, it's giving every developer at the BlackBerry Jam conference here in Orlando a phone, the "BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha developer testing device."Read Article >
That mouthful of a name is actually descriptive of what this device is and what it is not. It's not a prototype, it's not a phone that will ever be released, and RIM wants to make very clear that it's not necessarily indicative of what future BB10 phones will be. What it *is* is a device that developers can use to create BB10 apps that look and feel native to the new BB10 platform using RIM's new Cascades framework.
At its BlackBerry World event in Orlando today, RIM pulled the wraps off BlackBerry 10, a thoroughly-revamped platform based on QNX that the company is hoping will bring it back into contention. Though it's been talking about BlackBerry 10 since last year (when it was known as BBX), this is the first time that RIM is getting into details about what we can expect when it debuts on retail devices later in 2012.Read Article >
RIM's putting an emphasis on "glanceable" gestures in the platform, allowing the user to quickly shift between apps, documents, and notifications with quick flicks — from what's been demoed on stage at the show, it looks like a smooth and fast operation.
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RIM's gaming head Anders Jeppsson has taken to Twitter to reveal upcoming titles for BlackBerry 10 and the PlayBook ahead of BlackBerry World 2012. Halfbrick will be bringing Jetpack Joyride to RIM's tablet and new mobile OS, along with four more games — the studio has previously released iOS and Android hits such as Fruit Ninja and Monster Dash, though the hugely popular Jetpack Joyride never made the leap to Android. Other highlights include Fishlabs' demonstration of Galaxy on Fire 2 running on the PlayBook, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was released for the tablet today. Sega will also release Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 for PlayBook this month and BlackBerry 10 at launch, but we haven't heard anything about Episode 2.
Apr 30, 2012
RIM's BlackBerry Music Gateway is a small Bluetooth A2DP music streamer and, well, not anything more. That's part of the device's charm: it contains no battery, no screen, and no complicated settings. You plug it in, pair your phone, and start streaming music.Read Article >
The main new feature that RIM has added is NFC pairing. Just as with Nokia's speaker solutions, you can touch any device that utilizes a standard NFC connect protocol to automatically pair and unpair with the device — RIM says it works great with NFC-enabled BlackBerry smartphones (naturally) and Nokia smartphones, but other devices with NFC are hit-and-miss. Of course, you can still pair the old-fashioned way if your phone doesn't support NFC.