Reaction Roundup: Is BlackBerry 10 all that it was supposed to be?
At the annual BlackBerry World trade show in Orlando yesterday, Research in Motion top dog Thorsten Heins unveiled prototypes of the new BlackBerry 10 devices that should have been out a long time ago be launched to the public later this year. The phones, which will be distributed to developers so they can get busy on creating apps, look like mini-PlayBooks, with a 4.2-inch screen, a fancy predictive keyboard and an improved camera. This is a make-it-or-break-it device for RIM—it’s widely acknowledged BB10 has to succeed if the company is going to survive. So, does it look like RIM has the product that will save it? Here’s a roundup of what the pundits, analysts and developers are saying about the new devices.
• The keyboard is pretty sweet…
Since many RIM die-hards have remained loyal to BlackBerry products on account of their great keyboards, it’s important that this touchscreen phone delivers a sublime typing experience (the company said it will continue to sell phones with physical keyboards as well). Alex Colon at PCMag.com argues that it has, noting that “buttons are large, and modeling algorithms are in place to learn where you press every key.” The coolest part, though, is technology that suggests words you may be about to type and allows you to swipe them into the message. Fun.
• …and the camera is too
Chris Ziegler of The Verge praises an innovative camera tool that allows users to replace part of the photo in the moment immediately before or after your shot (i.e. eliminating blinking people from photos forever).
• BlackBerry 10 is built for multitaskers—as long as the battery can hold up
The new operating system allows users to quickly shift between apps, documents and messages with quick gestures. That said, Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette is underwhelmed, offering that the feature is “somewhat interesting” but “we have questions as to [its] real world feasibility given potential drain on battery life.”
• The timing is bad—no matter how good the device is
A tech industry analyst interviewed by the Toronto Star says that—despite RIM’s “laser focus” on delivering quickly—the BB10 phones may simply be too late. “I wish this [presentation] had been given last year,” says Peter Misek, explaining that the device will face stiff competition when it launches this fall. Apple’s iPhone 5, the Windows Phone 8 and a new phone from Samsung will all likely be launched around the same time.
• It could actually have some decent apps
Developers were impressed by several new tools that they say will make it easy to design apps for BB10 (it’s notoriously problematic to design apps for BlackBerry App World, part of the reason why RIM’s stable of apps falls far short of Apple’s 600,000 and Android’s 400,000). Oh, and designers may have also been impressed by the $10,000 incentive that RIM is offering to qualified developers who make apps for the company.
• RIM Launches BlackBerry 10 [PCMag.com]
• BlackBerry 10 unveiled [The Verge]
• RIMM Analyst Round-Up: BB10 Fails To Wow [Barron’s]
• BlackBerry-maker RIM cheered by fans and dropped by investors in one mixed day [Toronto Star]
• RIM guarantees $10,000 to BlackBerry 10 devs in first year