RIM Plans a Comeback with BlackBerry 10
There once was a time when BlackBerry devices dominated the smartphone market, but as the market started branching out from enterprises and professionals to general users, RIM began losing ground to iOS and Android devices – even Windows devices have stolen some of the thunder with WP7. Rather than throwing in the towel, RIM has just announced BlackBerry 10, a new version of its BlackBerry operating system that completely revamps the product line (and hopefully saves the company).
Compared to the BlackBerry 7, the current version, BlackBerry 10 will be very different – so different that it completely skips versions 8 and 9. While change can be a bit scary, RIM is definitely focusing on the right aspects.
New Core – Rather than the Java-driven operating system of its predecessors, BlackBerry 10 will be based on a UNIX system from QNX that has provided a solid infrastructure for many telematic systems in cars. It provides a much more modern and robust operating environment and is a much needed improvement to the BlackBerry platform.
New Look – While not much has been showcased yet, BlackBerry 10 looks unsurprisingly like a cross between its biggest competitors, Android, iOS, and WP7. The homescreen features customizable tabs that act as application shortcuts as well as providing real-time information, similar to WP7’s tiles.
New Functionality – When BlackBerry 7 came out with multitasking, everyone thought it might just be enough to save the day. BlackBerry 10 not only has multitasking, but even goes a step further, integrating applications into the operating system directly so that multitasking is achievable with every application while having no impact on overall system performance.
More on the New UI
RIM plans to give the new user interface of BlackBerry 10 more than just good looks. UI functionality is one of the key features RIM is addressing. BlackBerry 10 will feature system wide gesture controls for things like switching between apps, answering calls, and as additional tools in applications.
One of the more interesting features RIM has added is an active learning system. BlackBerry 10 will automatically adjust itself to better suit its user over time. For instance, it will learn how you prefer to touch the screen and adjust itself to make your selections more accurate.
What about the Apps?
One of BlackBerry’s biggest downsides is its limited app selection. Devices running Android and iOS have app markets with hundreds of thousands of apps available. Rather than trying to play catch-up, slowly building up an app market of its own, RIM has partnered with developers around the world to develop quality apps that integrate perfectly with the operating system. RIM is aiming for quality over quantity here, and as long as it covers all of its bases – that is, it has at least one app for anything a user would want to do – BlackBerry 10 could be a worthy contender in the smartphone sector once again.
Without a massive app library, RIM knows it will have a difficult time breaking into the general consumer market, but with the right application suite, the enterprise markets where RIM got its start are still within reach. RIM’s goal is to entice growing and developing enterprises with sleek, capable, and affordable devices. The only problem is that both Android and WP7 are zeroing in on these markets as well, so RIM will have quite the upward battle ahead of them. Only time will tell if BlackBerry 10 is enough to keep RIM afloat.