In January, Research in Motion will launch BlackBerry 10. The new platform will eschew many of the features that led to a recent dip in popularity for BlackBerry products, according to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins.
Among its improvements: a library for apps that will boast over 100,000 products. In the past it has been difficult for RIM to attract app developers. However, the company has taken steps to combat that. RIM already offered the highest per-app revenue of any of the major three mobile platforms (Apple iOS and Android being the other two) but BlackBerry 10’s new capabilities are already attracting developers to the unreleased platform. BlackBerry 10 devices will feature an Android app player, which allows many Android apps to play on a BlackBerry device. RIM released this feature earlier in 2012 with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet.
Additionally, BlackBerry 10 will support apps developed with C and C++ coding in addition to apps developed with HTML5 and Adobe Air. Despite a large quantity of apps, Heins also believes that individual customers have specific needs. By creating some region-specific apps—what Heins and multiple news outlets have referred to as “regional flavor”—RIM aims to meet the requirements of customers in a diverse array of regions nationally and internationally.
In each region, BlackBerry will prioritize 200 to 400 specific apps developed with users from that region in mind. In many cases, the developers come from the regions themselves. To get an idea of which apps may be in demand, RIM held 30 conferences around the world. Feedback at those conventions—called “BlackBerry jam conferences” by RIM—determined which apps will be available in which markets. Because many app developers attend these conferences, RIM also uses the conferences to demonstrate the advantages of new BlackBerry products and entice prospective app developers.
RIM reviewed submissions from potential developers on October 10 to augment its core application library. Some features exhibited at recent BlackBerry jam conferences have been BlackBerry Hub and BlackBerry Flow. Hub, which aims to silence criticism of previous BlackBerry email support, offers an improved method of organizing correspondence with personal and professional associates by creating a central location through which all messaging runs. BlackBerry Flow is a file and application manager meant to improve navigation, privacy and organization for BlackBerry 10 users.
Other features include an innovative new keyboard that suggests words above a prospective next letter (for example, if you type “hor-,” the word “horse” may appear above the “s” key and the word “horror” may appear above the “r” key) and BlackBerry Balance, which helps separate personal apps and data from professional ones.
In many cases, the professional side will be networked with colleagues and connected to a network administrator from the user’s company or enterprise. Enterprise-related apps could be accessed through the “work” side of BlackBerry Balance while personal apps—games, for instance—could be cataloged with other personal information. These new features were developed so that navigating and integrating the massive launch-time app market would be easy for customers upgrading to BlackBerry 10.
This is a guest post by Phil Cohen, he is a graduate from San Diego State University, with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Public Relations. He is currently working with a computer firm in Houston, Texas. In his free time he enjoys freelance writing about technology products on his IdeaPad Notebook, as well as Scuba Diving, White Water Rafting, and taking Road Trips.