RIM CEO Rocks BlackBerry World 2012, Demos New Prototype

BlackBerry World 2012 is in full swing at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Florida.  The three-day conference opened today and will run through Thursday, May 3.

Though Research in Motion already announced that they won’t be unveiling any new devices during the event, people are still curious as to what RIM had prepared for the event.

New CEO delivers keynote

Thorsten Heins is RIM’s new CEO and this is his first BlackBerry World – there’s a world of expectations.  Will he give a boring keynote speech?  Will he be able to deliver?  Will he be able to capture the interest of the crowd or will people start to leave even before he finished?  Enough speculation, let’s just get right to it.

“It has been three months since I have had the honor of being CEO of Research In Motion, and a lot has been written in that time, you’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, and our customers have seen it; and let me be clear, I’m here because I believe in the unique value  that BlackBerry can deliver to people every day,” the CEO said of his recently acquired position.

Heins used his keynote speech to merely hint at what’s coming for the company – a touchscreen, keyboardless device.  He waved the prototype in the air like a kid bragging to his friends that he has a new toy.

“I’m so excited to have this in my hand and show it to you, because I know how much work has gone into it,” Heins said.

The giddy CEO demoed the prototype, known as the AlphaDev, showing the touchscreen keyboard that adapts to a user’s typing language as he uses it.  He was assisted by Vivek Bhardwaj, head of RIM’s software portfolio, in showing off RIM’s new project.  They showed that the device is able to zoom in on faces in photos, and showed an awesome feature on the camera that enables the user to wind back the hands of time to the moment when the subject had his eyes open.

“I love that, I love that – this is so cool,” Heins said gleefully as Bhardwaj showed off the device.

So what’s new with the device?  It flows.   The new interface lets users switch from app to app or from chat to e-mail to games without having to close any of them, and “look back” at previously opened apps without losing the one you’re currently using.

“You’re flowing through your menus, no application stops when you do this; everything that you have going on keeps floating in the background,” Heins stated.

In the earlier part of his speech, Heins called on  Clarence So, Chief Strategy Officer from Salesforce.com and Chuck Robbins, seior vice president for the Americas at Cisco.  Cisco is said to be developing a teleconferencing app for BlackBerry.

And before Heins exited the stage, the CEO shouted, “Let’s rock and roll this!”

The AlphaDev

Developer attendees of the conference were given AlphaDevs so they can test how their creations would function on the said device and future BlackBerry 10 devices.  Along with the prototype, RIM is also offering toolkits that cover work in native code, the Cascades user interface framework, and web-based HTML5.

Cascades helps developers create graphically rich work, while the native code gives them access to core device features like the camera.  Cascades was developed by The Astonishing Tribe, a Swedish user interface company which RIM bought in 2010.