RIM has offered glimpses of potential uses for its upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphone/tablet operating system, as it underlined its commitment to supporting developers and talked up the profitability of its app store.
RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins takes the stage at DevCon in Amsterdam. Image credit: Ben Woods
The company's chief executive Thorsten Heins — who took up his role in January after the ousting of joint CEOs Jim Lazaridis and Mike Balsillie — took to the stage at the first BlackBerry DevCon Europe event on Tuesday. He talked about version 2.0 of the BlackBerry OS, used on the PlayBook tablet, and teased the upcoming BlackBerry 10 platform.
"BlackBerry 10 has been in development for quite some time. Actually we made a plan two-and-a-half years ago, and then we began assembling the pieces we needed to build a future-proof new platform that will take all of us into the next decade," Heins told the audience of developers in Amsterdam.
"We have a strategic aspiration to build a platform for mobile computing. We are focused on the future. We're focused on listening, innovating. We are ready to compete, make no mistake," he added.
As well as unifying BlackBerry tablets and smartphones, BlackBerry 10 could be put to use in cars, home appliances and other emerging categories of smart devices, he said. Cloud services would be used to synchronise data automatically behind the scenes.
Heins referred to this new method of syncing devices as "BlackBerry Flow" and said it will provide "seamless" updates of real-time information that would not require constantly opening and closing apps to check for updates.
"We want to make it effortless for the user to use all their apps and not always be having the in/out paradigm," Heins said. "This is the heart of BlackBerry 10. It's to be effortless in everything you do."
He demonstrated the approach by showing off the unified inbox, calendar and contact features in BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.0. The operating system update is due to roll out to the tablets during February, Heins confirmed.
In addition, Heins revealed details of the company's developer community and App World performance. To date, more than two billion apps have been downloaded and the store now has more than 60,000 apps generating six million downloads per day, he said.In addition, 13 percent of BlackBerry developers have made $100,000 (£62,935) or more from BlackBerry App World, according to Heins.
"I wanted to show my commitment, and RIM's commitment, to our developer community because without you the BlackBerry solution wouldn't be complete. We have almost 6 million software developers in Europe, and we recognise the commitment you have made to us, and we are committed to you," Heins said. "The updates to BB 2.0 reflect our desire to get it right. We see this conference as a way to re-engage with our developer community in EMEA. We are listening."
RIM will also be "seeding" another 25,000 PlayBook devices to developers to encourage developers to create apps for the platform, he added.