BlackBerry Jam Americas 2012 officially kicked off today and will continue until the 27th of September at the San Jose Convention Center in California.
At the conference, Research in Motion unveiled the latest version of BlackBerry 10, the operating software, which they claim will be better than iOS and Android, that they unveiled earlier in May. RIM showcased the newest iteration in the Dev Alpha B, the newest prototype of their upcoming BlackBerry devices. The hardware is black and boxy, but the user interface of the third version of the BlackBerry 10 looks promising.
When the phone is sleeping, you just swipe from the bottom to top of the screen to wake it up, no need to push any buttons. The locked screen also shows you how many (and what type) of notifications you’ve missed, and allows users to launch the camera directly. As the device wakes up, you’ll be greeted with a home screen that features all the actively running apps. It can hold about eight active frames, with the most recently used featured at the top. Close applications just by tapping the X in the lower-righthand corner of the app.
RIM clarified that these are actual running apps, not widgets or live tiles, so when you click on it, the app launches almost immediately. Exiting apps is as easy as unlocking the phone: just flick on the app and it closes, while swiping down brings up settings and other menu options.
Then there’s the BlackBerry Hub – it’s the place where everything from your e-mail accounts, Twitter messages, Facebook messages, and LinkedIn messages are all integrated while also serving as a unified notifications center. Though it acts like a universal Inbox, users can still filter it to each individual email account or service, so you only get the messages you want.
Like I said earlier, BlackBerry 10 looks promising but I’m not too sure about the device, it’s too boxy. But hey, that’s just me. Some people actually like straight-edge devices, it looks more “professional”, it looks like they mean business.
Big changes ahead
So what’s up with the big change? BlackBerry fans can thank Frank Boulben, RIM’s new marketing chief. His team’s goal is to bring something new to consumers and not another “me too” product.
“We are not developing a ‘me-too’ product or a copycat of what already exists,” Boulben said in an interview.
Also, RIM’s developing BB10 with specific people in mind like executives such as himself, as well as busy moms and hyperactive teens like his daughter, because he claims that a lot of phones available in the market these days, though elegant and easy-to-use, don’t really give people what they need in a device.
They’re aiming to launch after Christmas, though this may seem like a crazy idea as a lot of people buy smartphones and tablets during the holiday rush, RIM sees the after-Christmas period as a window of opportunity “in terms of educating the public and training the sales force of carriers.” Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if their plan actually works!