Struggling smartphone-maker, Research In Motion Limited (RIM), showed off some features of its new OS the BlackBerry 10, at a mobile app developers conference in San Jose California. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins who was also present at the conference said that BlackBerry 10 was going to be worth the wait. For more of his quotes click here.
So what did RIM show off in the new OS? Here’s a quick look:
No QWERTY, a touchscreen it is: According to TechHive, RIM’s new operating system completely eliminates the physical QWERTY. This is a brave move, especially given that it was the QWERTY keypad that made the BB so indispensable to corporate/business users. The ability to type out emails as quickly on a touchscreen smartphone is one that can take getting used to, and is definitely not for everyone. Will a touchscreen help BB win the smartphone battle? That remains to be seen.
A new interface: So what does the new OS look like? Well, according to ZDNet, BlackBerry 10 looks like the offspring of an Android and Microsoft Windows Phone one-night stand gone awry. But that’s ok because RIM still has assets worth pondering. Not very kind, but judging by the images, one has to admit that it does look a little like a confused mashup of the Windows Tile Interface and the Android icon version.
It seems RIM is calling the new interface ‘Flow’. According to CNET, this somewhat integrates the old menu and universal inbox features, but with a new twist, and it’s heavily gesture-based.
CrackBerry has full details on the new UI. It mentions that, When apps are open but minimized, they appear on a dedicated pane on the home screen, where up to the most recent eight running apps are displayed. These are now referred to as Active Frames.
Facebook is all sexed up: According to CNET‘s Jaymar Cabebe,
Facebook for BlackBerry 10 made its first public appearance, and it looked like, well, Facebook. In fact, I would say it looked very much like the Facebook for iOS app, with its shortcuts along the top and sliding navigation panel coming from the left.
Good move on the part of RIM as Facebook as more and more users are accessing the site via mobile and from the apps. A new sexy Facebook app should help boost BB’s popularity. Twitter and LinkenIn’s apps will also get an image boost.
So when is the new OS coming out? According to CEO Thorsten Heins, the new OS is likely to be released by January 2013.
Hopefully it will help BlackBerry cement the number three position as far as mobile operating systems go, something that Heins is keen on. The big question: Will RIM spoil Microsoft and Nokia’s party?