At the BlackBerry Jam event in San Jose, Research In Motion offered a closer look at BlackBerry 10 and tried to emphasize the positive. The Tuesday presentation from CEO Thorsten Heins was designed to put a positive face on the upcoming operating system, but it’s hard to ignore the many problems the Waterloo company has gone through as of late.
Still, Heins stated that telecommunications carriers are supportive of BlackBerry 10 devices. “They have said that it is beyond their expectations,” Heins said of the carriers’ reactions. “They have said it is different and better.”
“Different and better” may not be enough considering the hole RIM finds itself in, but at least it’s a start.
Heins emphasized the “fluidity” of BlackBerry 10, for one thing, and shed light on the BlackBerry Hub. This is a central location for notifications, from email messages to profile updates. Hub will let users view every single message they receive in one place and should be divided into sub-sections. If a user wants to find text messages, for instance, he or she can scroll to the appropriate section in the Hub.
The interface features five home screens with room for 16 applications per page. There are three static buttons at the bottom of the screen, representing the phone’s dialer, search function and camera.
Finding information on the phone does not require a return to the home page, with BlackBerry 10 allowing users to move from app to app with a simple swipe on the top of the screen. This brand of interactivity – or “fluidity” to have Heins tell it – will be universal across the operating system.
The keyboard is also expected to be a focal point. There will be support for multiple languages and different models will feature either physical or virtual keyboards. The virtual keyboard adapts to the typing style of each user and integrates “predictive text.” It will also compensate for differences in finger size, which is a nice touch.
RIM also uncorked the bottle on some new developer tools, including an update for calendar, messaging and contacts. Developers can create apps that incorporate BlackBerry Messenger and can work with a native C++ plugin for Microsoft Visual.
BlackBerry 10 devices are still set for release in January of 2013 and the company is hanging just about everything on their success. More importantly, the entire Canadian tech industry has an awful lot hanging on RIM as well.