It’s finally official: Research in Motion (RIM) have announced that their latest, highly-anticipated offering, the new BlackBerry 10 platform, will drop on January 30, 2013. Expected to have released in the latter half of this year, the platform — two new devices and a shiny new OS — was greatly delayed, leaving some to speculate that this last-ditch redemption attempt was doomed before it was even released.
But now the wheels are in motion. Multiple “BlackBerry Jam” events the world-over, all set to promote the new platform, have been slowly building up to the much speculated official release. But what can we expect, come January 30?
Firstly, the devices: BlackBerry has been, for years, characterized by a series of product groups: the Bold, Curve, Torch, Storm, Tour. In the new age of the BlackBerry, RIM have decided to simplify the product groups into two categories, code named N-series (BlackBerry Nevada) and L-series (BlackBerry London). From leaked photos and presentation slides, we know that the Nevada is an all-touch screen phone, and the London is a more “traditional” BlackBerry, similar to the current Bold range.
Then, there’s the software: based on the QNX system used on their PlayBooks, this new operating system has some neat new features. The Hub and Peek are two integral components: the Hub always runs, and ensures you’re never a swipe away from your messages and notifications.
Peek allows you to literally “peek” into parts of the interface whilst the phone is locked. Like Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, the BlackBerry 10 interface is radically different. It differs from the “traditional” icon-based UI used by iOS and Android. Instead, features like live tiles give you instantaneous updates to applications like BBM (the BBM live tile will update with the latest notifications from your contacts). Weather apps can display current conditions, without you having to enter the app itself.
On January 30, expect RIM to officially release the BlackBerry 10 platform with the all-touch device (BlackBerry Nevada for now, until they’ve released it’s trade name). The QWERTY-keyboard version is expected to release in the latter part of 2013; in this way, they’re focusing on really delivering a strong touch experience, an experience which currently dominates the mobile market and which BlackBerry has since struggled to effectively compete.
In all, BB10 looks extremely promising. In emerging mobile markets like South Africa and Indonesia, the BlackBerry brand is already big. I expect RIM to capitalize on this, and with the new devices and a modern OS, I think we finally have a strong contender for the battle of the mobile platforms. What do you think?
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.