At Research In Motion’s annual BlackBerry World conference, the troubled company uncorked the publicized BlackBerry 10 prototype and handed it out to developers in hopes of generating some apps for when the device is finally released later this year.
CEO Thorsten Heins unveiled the “BlackBerry 10 10 Dev Alpha testing device,” but RIM shares took a dip anyway and investors didn’t seem impressed.
The BlackBerry 10 devices are said to navigate with fewer keystrokes, with word suggestions and gestures moving things around. Heins demonstrated how various pieces of information, from emails to documents, could be moved around in and out from the edges of the screen. “It’s all about making things flow,” he said.
At RIM’s BlackBerry Jam conference, running this week in Orlando, the Waterloo company will be giving developers access to the BlackBerry 10 prototype. The device is based on the QNX operating system, which is compatible with a number of open source coding languages. RIM’s legacy operating system is set to become a thing of the past, which means that the company really is hedging its bets on BlackBerry 10 devices.
According to reports, RIM’s BlackBerry 10 developer device looks like a smaller PlayBook and has no physical keyboard. It has a “touch sensitive frame.” RIM says that the hardware of the consumer products set for launch will “bear little resemblance” to the prototype, however, so it’s probably not at all reasonable to judge the upcoming products based on the testing device.
“This device is all about getting developers off the ground and building on the platform,” Christopher Smith, RIM’s vice president of application platform tools, said in an interview via the Financial Post. “We are confident that the developers building on this platform will be able to take the work that they do and will be able to translate it to the launch devices as they hit, but it’s certainly not intended to be representative of the final hardware.”
RIM has taken a beating in the marketplace over the last while, dropping 70 percent over the last year. Tuesday, the company closed down 5.8 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“The bulls have disappeared from the scene as far as RIM is concerned,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. “There is no investor confidence in RIM at all. It will have to do something fairly spectacular to turn things around.”
Whether the BlackBerry 10 devices will be “spectacular” enough for investors remains to be seen, but something tells me RIM’s fortunes won’t be turning around anytime soon.