When you hear “Blackberry,” you no longer think of a high speed, low drag businessman, dead set on reaching the top. You probably think of that one guy who’s waiting for his contract to expire, or a woman whose business won’t buy iPhones or Android phones for their employees. The OS is dated, the screen is a whopping 320×240, and their newest phone has a single camera at 3.2 megapixels. Welcome to the same phone, 5 years running.
However, RIM intends (again) to change your perspective on the Blackberry brand with Blackberry 10, a large mathematical leap from 7.1, which is to be released on the Curve 9320. The developers kit for Blackberry 10 went live earlier this month, allowing developers to start playing with the new OS. One thing they seem to be doing is making it easier to design apps.
They’ve taken a hint from Microsoft’s MetroUI, using a lot of squares and rectangles to fill the screen and created visually appealing buttons. They’ve also baked in a lot of the more technical stuff to the Dev Kit, in an apparent attempt to make it easier to develop for Blackberry, taking cues from Microsoft (again).
Of course, the most notable difference between current (and past) generation Blackberry equipment and Blackberry 10 is the move away from their old standby – the physical keyboard. Many proponents of the physical keyboard claim that they’d never be able to use a touchscreen. I dare say that 90% of current touchscreen smartphone users had that same thought before they purchased their first iPhone or Android device.
The device in the above video is, of course, a developer’s unit, and we all expect the production unit to be much smaller and sleeker. The real question, however, is “Will this be enough to save RIM?” With employees jumping ship, stock price headed downhill and iOS/Android crowding the enterprise market, RIM needs to be successful in this endeavor, as it may be their last chance. I may not be their biggest fan, but it’d be a shame to let such a storied company die while their direct descendants thrive.