Thursday, September 27, 2012
The rebirth of BlackBerry
I never was a fan of RIM's BlackBerry devices but I have a feeling it is about to change. This week, RIM is having their yearly BlackBerry Jam Americas presentation and they are presenting the next version of their platform called BlackBerry 10. They did not provide a lot of material for me to work with but what they presented was amazing enough for me to blog about it. RIM was previously known to built devices that were axed towards productivity, security, reliability and they all came with physical keyboards which was appreciated a lot in the days preceding the touch-screen era. Some of their new handsets will have physical keyboards and I think all of the new BlackBerries will be touch enabled.
Since they did not talk a lot about the physical aspects of their new devices, lets focus on software part they presented. The first feature they presented is called the BlackBerry Hub which is accessible with a single swipe gesture. The Hub aggregates informations from all your applications like notifications from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, BBM, voicemail, sms, email, and even more. It basically is a notification center but the cool thing about it is that you can choose which information will be displayed in your Hub. Also, the Hub can be accessed from anywhere, any time. It looks simply gorgeous, well thought and well done.
BlackBerry Flow is what they call their new UX or user experience. It includes an overhauled calendar, an new on-screen keyboard with astonishing multi-language word prediction and a new feature called Peek. The Peek gesture is what lets you access the Hub with a single swipe. The new user interface looks more like Android's or iOS's but it is definitely different and looks way more professional.
RIM's forte always has been they BlackBerry Enterprise Services. With the new BlackBerry Balance feature, users will be able to separate their personal and work related usage. The work part will include access to corporate encrypted emails, remote wiping and more. Users will be able to switch from personal to work with a swipe which looks so convenient. You can understand why they decided to call it balance.
The big deception is that RIM did not provide any details regarding when it will be launched and on what device we will be able to see it first. My prediction is that we will be able to hold a BB10 device in our hands around Christmas time. That might just give the folks at Google enough time to incorporate RIM's ideas into the Android platform. Since RIM is the only Canadian major player in the mobile industry, I wish them success and I hope they will be able to pull it off!
EDIT : see demo here.