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Blackberry 10 almost here: What is cooking?

By Rohit Ramesh on Monday 13th of Aug 2012

Research in Motion, the sinking boat as I would like to call it, is pulling out it’s final gun. At long last, it’s even longer anticipated Blackberry 10 OS is set to find a device, that makes its way into our pockets. Blackberry 10 OS is built on the QNX platform, which powers the Blackberry Playbook OS (currently at it’s 2.0 version iteration). The Playbook was well received. But that didn’t last long as people simply refused to buy a device with barely any developer support and an unfinished Operating System. Then came the huge price drop, and the Playbook did a TouchPad like hot cakes.

The same QNX platform will now power what is no doubt RIM’s last hope. Blackberry OS 10 has a lot resting on it’s shoulder. It can pretty much make or break this company. RIM has been losing a lot of money and market share. Stock prices are low low low. They are finally looking for something bright in these (extended) gloomy times. The old Blackberry devices with tiny displays (in the world of Galaxy Note) or simply QWERTY phones cannot hold out much longer. According to a recent report by comScore, the market share for Android rests at 51.6%,  while iOS is at 30.7%. Blackberry holds a meager 12.3% (and falling fast). With the upcoming launch of iPhone 5 (with iOS 6), Windows Phone 8 and probably the new Google Nexus Phones (running on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean) RIM’s arena is both crowded and full of fierce competition (all data for the US region only).

The company’s troubled state can only be further confirmed with their recent sale of assets, the most recent being “NewBay“. NewBay is a cloud services provider of photos, videos as well as social networking tools. RIM had purchased NewBay for about a $100 million back in October 2011. Back then, NewBay had over 80 million subscribers using it’s service, no more.

RIM is putting everything into Blackberry 10. And they are trying to woo developers by guaranteeing them $10,000 in earnings from their apps if the said apps pass RIM’s strict quality certification. Put simply, if your app is certified and you earn less than $10,000, then RIM will pay you the difference in amount upto $10,000 itself. Quite an incentive for a serious developer I say.

Blackberry Messenger, or simply BBM is also getting attention. And why not, as we see many teenagers buy a blackberry simply for the BBM service. RIM is planning to add Video Chat Support for BBM, and this will be made available to BB OS 7 users in addition to Blackberry 10 OS.

The Blackberry 10 Alpha devices were sent out to many developers across the world about a month back. Many managed to get a hands-on. At first glance, the device looks simple. And that simply works as the design is actually pretty good. The device is itself as big as the Samsung Google Galaxy Nexus, minus the extremely curved body. However, we aren’t looking at a finished product as RIM has notified that this device shall not receive the final version of Blackberry 10 OS. Some of the features of this alpha device have been listed below:

Developer Alpha Tech Specs:
  • 4.2″ HD LCD, 365 ppi
  • 1280×768 resolution
  • 16 GB Internal Storage
  • Quad-Band HSPA+, no LTE
  • Front and Rear Camera (with flash)
  • Blackberry 10 Flow UI
  • microSIM
  • microUSB and HDMI port

RIM without doubt would also release QWERTY phones running the Blackberry 10 OS. You can read Crackberry’s Hands-on with the Developer Unit by following the link below:

Crackberry goes Hands-on with Blackberry 10 Developer Alpha

The most recent report is that Blackberry 10 OS will be licensed by RIM to other companies. “QNX is already licensed across the automotive sector — we could do that with BB10 if we chose to,” said RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins to Bloomberg in a recent interview. He also confirmed that the company is ready for licensing. We already know that Samsung has openly stated that they are not interested in licensing RIM’s new OS. It remains to be seen which companies will follow.

Amazon would have been a candidate, had they not been so invested in Android and Kindle already. Sony is one, but that company hardly does one OS right (until recently). HTC is another possible option. They may look into this especially after the fall in sales and revenue of the company, revealed recently. All in all, Q1 2013 will reveal what comes next.

Till then, we hold on to our horses, waiting for RIM to launch it’s BB 10 OS powered smartphone. Here’s hoping that this device doesn’t tank, and saves this brilliant company that it once was.

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