BlackBerry 10 announced

BlackBerry 10 announced

Summary: In a last-gasp effort to remain relevant in a category it once dominated, Research In Motion announced BlackBerry 10 this morning, and renamed the company to "BlackBerry" to indicate its dedication to the brand.

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Back in 2008, BlackBerry commanded a market share of over 40 percent, with a stock price north of $140. Today, its market share has dropped under 7 percent, and the stock has dipped under $17. The company hopes that the new QNX-based BlackBerry 10 operating system will revitalize the system for users, developers, and ultimately investors.

(Credit: BlackBerry)

BlackBerry announced two phone models today: The Q10 with a physical keyboard and the Z10 with a touch keyboard. Both are using the BB10 operating system. The Z10 touchscreen measures 4.2 inches diagonally and has a very high 356 dots per inch density. The Q10 features a smaller screen with a familiar keyboard underneath.

The central user interface for BB10 is called BlackBerry Flow. All programs are running at once (true multitasking), and you can use a single thumb gesture to take a peek at what is going on in the other windows.

The BlackBerry Hub integrates all your media streams including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, BBM (instant messaging), calendars, phone calls, and emails. All can be read inside the Hub program without executing third party apps.

Other features highlighted today include:

  • An innovative touch keyboard with features such as multi-language support and toss to complete

  • BlackBerry Balance allows you to separate your IT-controlled business software from your personal software, yet see both in a consolidated view

  • Voice and video calls through BBM

  • BBM Screenshare lets you share your screen with the personal you're calling

  • BlackBerry Reminder for events and appointments; syncs with Evernote

  • New camera and picture-editor application

  • Story Maker to build slideshows and videos.

BlackBerry's app store is called BlackBerry World, and it contains over 70,000 apps today. Some of them include:

  • Skype

  • Amazon Kindle

  • WhatsApp

  • SAP

  • Angry Birds.

Pricing and availability will vary by country and carrier with some available as early as tomorrow. One price mentioned was $170 with a three-year contract for the Z10.

BlackBerry's new global creative director is Alicia Keys. She has been working on a project called Keep Moving that aims to inspire other creative people to use the platform.

Analysis

BlackBerry decided to create BB10 from scratch, so it's an entirely new platform. Developers will have to decide whether or not to support the platform based on how well it sells, and it will sell based on how many apps it has. Starting with 70,000 apps out of the gate will certainly help that. The price is reasonable, the technology competitive, and IT features such as BlackBerry Balance will appeal to BlackBerry's core enterprise audience.

Unfortunately for BlackBerry, though, it's unlikely it'll ever be able to achieve much more than a niche market share. Its customers will be people who are forced to use the devices through work, who will use more popular and better-supported devices running iOS and Android for their personal needs. Consumer features are driving innovation into business, not the other way around, so BlackBerry will always be playing catch-up.

If BlackBerry 10 had come out three or four years ago it would have been noteworthy. But now, the world has moved on.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobile OS, Smartphones, Bring Your Own Device

Ed Burnette

About Ed Burnette

Ed Burnette is a software industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience as a programmer, author, and speaker. He has written numerous technical articles and books, most recently "Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform" from the Pragmatic Programmers.

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5 comments
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  • Not much of a Blackberry fan but I disagree with you...

    "If BlackBerry 10 had come out 3 or 4 years ago it would have been noteworthy. But now, the world has moved on"...Never too late..I only owned a storm and hack the heck out of it and moved on....but I think there is potential here....
    Nsaf
    • too late

      they're definitely late.. why focus solely on BBM?
      shotselecta
  • Hello, Android: Introducing Google's Mobile Development Platform

    Gee I wonder why a Android developer wouldn't want BB10 to succeed?

    Why don't we see how consumers react to the device and if it sell. If it does you might want to expand you skill set beyond Android.

    Let's face it - Android is where it is due to low cost touch screen devices. The bulk using unsupported 2-3 year old OS builds. Yeah that's going to last forever. The key question no ones asks is how is Android inticing people to upgrade to current devices? I've had my share of Android devices and will ok have had as many issues as any other mobile platform. Force close, lock ups etc. I stay will it as it's pretty effortless to root the device and there's a plethora of ways to get Apps for free.
    MobileAdmin
  • Android stinks

    Android is a malware magnet thanks to Google's complete and utter incompetence when it comes to operating system design.
    bitrate
    • Yeah?

      Prove it.
      Or are you just echoing nonsense you read in "tech" blogs?
      radleym