RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform: Do you believe? Probably not

RIM's BlackBerry 10 platform: Do you believe? Probably not

Summary: RIM has some hero platform or phone almost every spring that's supposed to restore the BlackBerry to its glory days.


Research in Motion's BlackBerry World confab has a familiar ring to it: An introduction of new platform that will represent a comeback for the company.

The challenge for RIM watchers is mustering up the energy to believe in the company. The BlackBerry 10 platform is strong. And QNX operating system may be the best mobile platform few use (unless you just love RIM's PlayBook tablet).

Don't get me wrong. I want to believe in RIM. I want to get excited. I hope RIM makes it. I really don't want a mobile duopoly with Apple's iOS and Android.

But if RIM's going to be that elusive No. 3 mobile platform---Windows Phone doesn't seem to be stepping up to the plate yet---I need something more to go on than a virtual keyboard.

As CNET's Maggie Reardon noted (Techmeme, statement), RIM CEO Thorsten Heins was jazzed about the company's virtual keypad. RIM also handed out a developer handset to stoke the BlackBerry 10 platform and entice programmers to create apps.

Reardon wrote:

Heins was tight-lipped about specifics , but he hinted that the first devices will likely come with virtual keyboards instead of the physical QWERTY keypads that many loyal BlackBerry fans have come to know and love. He showed off the new virtual keypad and said that it sums up the purpose of BlackBerry 10, which is to make communicating easier and faster. And he said that includes making typing even faster and easier to use.

Really? Better typing and an intelligent autocorrect is the best you can come up with?

Related: BlackBerry Dev Alpha device and BB World demos show RIM isn't out of the game yetRIM's challenge: Platforms don’t sell, gadgets do | First look: BB 10

Forgive the cynicism, but RIM has some hero platform or phone almost every spring that's supposed to restore the BlackBerry to its glory days.

To wit:

  • May 2012: RIM tells us the BlackBerry 10 platform has developers stoked. RIM launches the platform, but devices won't arrive to later.
  • May 2011: RIM rolls out BlackBerry Balance, a new Facebook App, video chat for the PlayBook and plans to manage multiple devices in the enterprise.
  • April 2010: RIM introduces a new BlackBerry Bold, Pearl 3G and a mobile voice system for Wi-Fi. The PlayBook was unveiled September.
  • April 2009: Storm rolls out globally with its clickable touchscreen. RIM touts partnership with SAP. BlackBerry App World launches.
  • Oct. 2008: RIM's Storm launches on Verizon Wireless. The Storm was RIM's iPhone killer at the time.

We know how most of those efforts turned out.

RIM's biggest challenge is not only keeping its base enthusiastic, but getting other developers wound up. RIM will support Android apps, but it's fuzzy whether BlackBerry 10 will be locked and loaded with software.

If RIM can't rally developers, it will have another PlayBook on its hands. A tablet with a nice OS that can only do a handful of things.

Hopefully, RIM can make me a believer. But I need something more than a virtual keyboard.

Topics: Security, Mobility, BlackBerry

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  • wtf!?

    Your facts are dead wrong. The BBWC showed off more than just the improved keyboard - which, by the way, IS a big deal if you actually watched the demonstration. Also, more flaws are found: the Playbook was launched in 2011, not March 2010. Also, name what the Playbook doesn't do that other tablets can, such as the iPad or Android equivalents. And I'm not talking about specific apps - I'm wanting details on what the tablet and platform CAN NOT DO that other tabs can. Hmm?
    • apple shares

      the problem is too many people are hung up with apple shares going to 1000 story, if rim makes a comeback that dream is gone and very soon apple is down to 300. so this denial to accept the facts. but bb 10 is fantastic and consumers and enterprise will love this i am sure.
  • Larry Dignan's fact-free articles!

    Yeah, Larry really dropped the ball on this one. The only thing he managed to take away from all the amazing and innovative things we saw at BlackBerry World today was their new keyboard -- and he couldn't even manage to accurately report on that!

    Let's see if Larry manages to improve over the next few days. At the rate he's going we'll see headlines like "RIM offers phone with a battery, yawn" and "RIM's new phones to have a display"

    Come on Larry, this level of "reporting" wouldn't pass muster at a middle-school newspaper. Get with the program.
  • Oh Blackberry, Why?

    The physical keyboard is the only thing Blackberry still has going for it. Some people do still want keyboards for their devices. That's why people spend so much money for these things: http://www.cellmacs.com/iPhone-Sliding-Bluetooth-Keyboard-Case-and-Stand-p/phn.htm
  • Larry (the cucumber) is that you?

    I love your sense of humor. Keep us all laughing!
  • Read the fine print

    Which I can't on the graphic displayed above. Only WP7 seems designed for maturer eyes and BB can't even get to iPhone standard it appears.

    Time for Rim to talk to MS about WP8.
  • For others that lack reading comprehension skills

    Read closely now:

    Revolutionary realtime OS:
    Used currently in 60% of cars on the roads today.
    Permits efficient multitasking.

    Uniquely productive virtual keyboard, as in:
    Gestures switch keyboards
    Predictive sentence completion by word

    Revolutionary camera for stills:
    Records around the still image so you can touch up parts of the photo by selecting a portion of the image from before or after taking the picture.

    Unique layered app design.
  • you should be more informed before writing an article.

    you are totally uninformed and probabaly biased in writing this negative article. may be a fat cheque from a fruit company. that is scared stiff of competition wiping their dominance out.
  • sory, but u got it wrong

    i dont understand how u missed out the innovative flow-based/synergized apps idea and others
  • WWDC?

    Funny but doesn't Apple announce the OS MONTHS before the device ships? We'll see iOS 6 (whatever they number it) this June and the iPhone 5 (whatever they call it, likely just the new iPhone) in October.

    It's funny how tech blogs do not understand the game going on now. RIM just throw some morsels to Apple and Google on how advanced their OS is coming along. Apple's OS looks even more dated now. Apple has one thing going for it - fantastic developer support.

    The funny thing is I've been chatting with a number of developers at Blackberry World / JAM and their revenue on Apple is static, on Android it's barely moving (Android people don't buy crap).

    Like Apple RIM is building an ecosystem. People are still just focused on the hardware when their not looking how RIM is looking to intergrate with how we use technology. Apple's focus is entertainment. Their OS is stunted and limited to serve Apple's purpose.

    BTW the Alpa device now has (in this form) the highest quality display for a smartphone. Don't see too many tech blogs talking about that bit.
  • My Take

    I've used all mobile OSes. While almost everyone was stumping on RIM, I've been excited about the reason RIM acquired QNX. This real time, proven OS provides a solid platform from which RIM will build for *the next decade*. I believe RIM is asking themselves the right questions, keeping their cool, focusing on their own strengths and not hammering the panic buttons. And last but not least, not driven by silly opinions written by visionless blog writers. RIM deserves for more credit than they deserve!

    Real-time multi-tasking will be the next major thing. I do not see iOS or Andriod keeping up with RIM on this.

    As for Apps, how many of us have 500 apps installed in our phones and use them all? What do people really want? I want all my 20 apps to be highly responsive, great UI and if they run in real-time, they should not crash the phone and drain out battery before the day ends. I've rebooted my Nexus 5 times for the last 10 days!!!

    I'd like to emphasize one thing and I hope RIM gets this. UI design is the most important factor at the end of the day. It is what people interact with 100% of the time they use the phone. Underlying techs are important but they are the unsung heroes. Dev Alpha's UI should be made even more advanced looking. It looks a little dated to me although I like the functionalities like Glance, etc.

    Get rid of the two round corners at the top left and right. It is ugly, not necessary and dated. Clean UI with the least distraction, gets out of the way of the main app purposes is what matters. Don't just help people get things done with agility and speed alone. The UI must endear users to the point it becomes a joy to behold it. It makes people happy emotionally, not just helping people functionally.

    Please RIM do something about this!!! This is what makes people proud to show off their phone to their friends and word of mouth will spread it for you like fire!
    Samuel Koh