BlackBerry launched its BlackBerry Z10 device in India today for a hefty Rs 43, 490. The launch event also had brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor at the event, (you can check out our photo gallery here). BlackBerry’s head of Software Portfolio, Vivek Bhardwaj was also present at the launch.
Vivek is the man who has been largely responsible for the BlackBerry 10 OS and like at the New York launch, in India too, it was he who showed off the key features of the new OS . From predictive keyboard to BlackBerry Messenger with its video messaging and screen share option, BlackBerry’s new phone isn’t just banking on the raw specs but also in providing a different user experience.
We caught up with Vivek and spoke to him after the event on the new BB 10. Some excerpts:
What do you think is the core feature of BlackBerry 10 OS? Is this device aimed at the core corporate audience?
BB 10 is not about just targeting the corporate audience but anyone who wants to get things done, who wants to multi-task, who loves being hyper-connected. That can be anyone, a student who’s on Facebook and Twitter all the time, a business executive, all of those audiences. We’re now creating a new user experience, which sets us apart. The things we’ve really innovated are the keyboard, the BBM with video-calling and video share.
Is BlackBerry planning an annual developer conference like the kind Google and Apple do, say on a more regular basis to get more app developers?
We’ve been doing JAM sessions all of last year. We just finished a JAM session in Europe. We will be doing a BlackBerry Live in May. This will be a developer’s conference. We’re going to keep the momentum up, and give developers the hardware, the software. We intend to keep this going.
What about software updates? Like the kind Android and iOS roll out every year: We will be rolling out regular updates. We will innovate with keyboard as we believe in giving our users the best typing experience. You will also be seeing some new things with BBM later this year. We will continue to make the user experience faster and more fluid.
BBM has a lot of competitors like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger. Your take on how BBM will compete in this market: With BBM, we are doing pretty well so far. We’ve got 60 million active BBM users. Actually if you look at the level of engagement that people have on BBM, than compared to the others the apps that you’re mentioning, it’s much higher. People don’t just use BBM for 15 minutes, but they’re on it all the time. That level of engagement means we have a very active audience and we’re going to capitalise on that.